SA delegation to PAP commits to serving Africa   

A delegation of Members of Parliament (MPs) that was sworn in as Members of the Pan-African Parliament (PAP) on Monday is ready to contribute positively to the advancement of the legislative sector on the continent.
The five-member delegation of Parliament of South Africa - led by National Council of Provinces (NCOP) Chairperson - Thandi Modise - was among 71 new Members of the PAP who were sworn in at the opening ceremony of the sixth Ordinary Session of the PAP in Midrand this week. 
Modise said they are all ready to work hard. 
“As the SA Parliament delegation, we are looking forward to continue adding value to the various committees and plenaries of the PAP so that we strengthen the PAP’s role in improving the quality of lives of the people in our continent,” she said.
Modise said one of the most important tasks was to “continue to push for the PAP to have legislative powers”. The continent’s legislative body currently has no law-making powers.
The full South African Parliament’s delegation is made up of Modise (National Council of Provinces Chairperson and delegation leader), Thoko Didiza (the National Assembly’s House Chairperson for Internal Arrangements), Julius Malema (leader of the Economic Freedom Fighters), Mandlesizwe Zwelivelile Mandela and Santosh Vinita Kalyan. They replace Dr Hunadi Mateme, Thandi Memela, Charles Nqakula and Floyd Shivambu, while Kalyan will serve another two-year term.
Parliament nominated them to serve on the PAP in October last year. 
The Office of the African National Congress (ANC) Chief Whip issued a message to congratulate ANC Members of Parliament who were sworn in as PAP Members.
“The ANC has full confidence that our deployees will represent the South African Parliament and the people it represents, with the necessary vigour and commitment at this important institution for the development of the African people. We wish them well in their new roles of responsibility,” said ANC Chief Whip, Jackson Mthembu. 
Modise also said PAP ought to do its best to increase women and youth representation on the continent’s Parliament. 
“You have to accept that it is the responsibility of the member state to determine their representation, but it will be a good thing if women representation is increased. The South African delegation is made up of three women and two men, which I think is a great example for other nations,” she said. 
The African Union Commission Chairperson, Moussa Faki Mahamat, added that the under-representation of women and youth in PAP is unfortunate and impacted on their ability to deliver on their mandates. 
“Statistics have shown that women constitute more than half of the population of 1.8 billion on the African continent. Also, the youth are yearning for a continent that uses the mineral resources it is endowed with to power development to create much-needed employment opportunities. We should have these group represented in such platforms to ensure that women and the youth form part of finding solutions to challenges facing Africa,” Mahamat said. 
The PAP is one of the nine organs proposed in the 1991 Treaty Establishing the African Economic Community (Abuja Treaty). It is made up of 255 members representing 55 African Union (AU) Member States that have ratified the protocol establishing it.  
This states that each State shall be represented by five members, of whom at least one should be a woman. The PAP’s purpose, as set out in article 17 of the AU Constitutive Act, is “to ensure the full participation of African peoples in the development and economic integration of the continent”. 
The Parliament is a platform for people from all African states to be involved in discussions and decision-making on the problems and challenges facing the continent.
The Pan African Parliament sits in Midrand in Johannesburg and the current session that started on Monday ends next Friday on 18 May. The seat of the PAP was initially in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, but was later moved to South Africa.
The theme for this session is: “Winning the Fight against Corruption: A Sustainable Path to Africa’s Transformation.” 
Among other things, the session will discuss the state of the AU, 
HIV/AIDS plans of action, the Report on the AU’s Year of Combating Corruption and the report on action on albinism in Africa.
In addition to these, participants at the PAP session are also expected to discuss and recommendations on the Europe-Africa Forum, the Challenges and Opportunities of Migration Flows as well as the Report on Repealing Defamation Laws to Promote Press Freedom.