Daily Archives: August 20, 2018

Commonwealth Parliamentary Association African Region Conference Opens in Botswana

The 49th Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA) African Region Conference opened officially on Saturday. The speakers who presiding over its opening emphasised the importance of the theme: The Role of Parliaments in Fostering Regional and National Security.

In her opening address, The President of the CPA Africa Region and the Speaker of the National Assembly of Botswana, Ms Gladys Kokorwe, stressed the significance of the theme to the future of the continent. In its broad sense, security is necessary for stability and socio-economic development in Africa. This theme challenges us to determine what role we can play in this regard.

The theme, she emphasised, should not be looked at in a linear way, but be embraced in its totality to ensure food security. This conference affords us an opportunity to share experiences and to facilitate measures that will tackle the impact of climate change on food security in our respective countries and on the continent. We are optimistic that when all is said and done we would be better off as the region than we were before this conference, she said.

CPA’s founding values of human rights, peace and security, its culture of human rights and good governance clearly demonstrate that it has the necessary tools to resolve conflicts, said the Chairperson of the Commonwealth Women Parliamentarians Africa Region, Ms Thoko Didiza, from South Africa.

What is currently missing is the role of women in this regard. The role of women in conflict resolutions, peace missions, in defence and security sector is critical if we were to attain the goal of this conference, she said. The theme of this conference speaks directly to the silencing of guns in Africa, which is one of the priorities of the Africa Agenda 2063, Ms Didiza said.

As parliamentarians, we must determine not only how we can measure its progress, but also what role women can play in the execution of this aspiration. The women’s role in overthrowing colonialism is recorded. In South Africa we are, in this month, commemorating the contribution of women, such as MaSisulu, in the liberation struggle of our country and in ushering in our democracy. This shows that women can make a difference in this regard.

The threat to our security whether real or imagined demand innovative thinking, said the Chairperson of CPA Africa Region, Ms Lindiwe Maseko. It is hoped that delegates will share country experiences that will enable us to come up with legislative frameworks that will advocate for new security frameworks that will foster peace and territorial integrity of our countries.

Reflecting on her tenure, she urged the incoming office bearers of the CPA Africa Region not to relent on changing the status of the CPA. The changing of the CPA status is an ongoing struggle. Don’t relent, we are close to attaining this goal.

Its transformation, she stressed, should encompass its nature and character, its organizational identity, its aims and objectives, its values and funding options.

Reiterating the significance of changing the status of the CPA, the Deputy Speaker of the Parliament of Cameroon and the Chairperson of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association, Ms Emilia Lifaka, said it was not a question of if, but when the status of the CPA will change. She admitted that this matter has divided the CPA, but she also commended Africa’s unyielding resolve to change the status of the CPA from a charity organisation to an international organisation that has a recognised parliamentary status.

On the growing influence of Africa in the CPA, she said Africa’s collective voice is indisputable. My ascension to the chairpersonship of the CPA would not have be achieved without this conviction and the architects of thereof.

She commended Ms Maseko’s resolve in putting Africa’s interest high on CPA’s agenda. Ms Maseko, thank you for job well done. You always aimed for the sky and your resolve has landed the Africa Region at the helm of the CPA. Thank you for your love of Africa. You have showed us that an Africa with one collective voice is indisputable.

Security is a precondition for development and parliaments’ role in this regard cannot be overemphasised, said the Deputy President of Botswana, Mr Slumber Tsogwane. Our parliaments are faced with challenges of executive overreach, but Despite that they must strive to seek ways that will enable them to be beyond reproach, he said.

They must use their mandates to pass good laws and policies, hold the executive to account and fight corruption. This is significant because stronger parliaments breed stronger democracies, he said.

The oversight role of African parliaments needs to be strengthened, he reiterated, to ensure that they uphold the aspirations of the people, and ensure that policies and budgets that they pass are aligned to the shared values of their respective countries.

Weighing in on the changing status of the CPA, he said, I concur that CPA should be repositioned to promote the advancement of parliamentary democracy in Africa.

Source: Parliament of the Republic of South Africa

South Africa Opens Inquiry into Corruption During Zuma Rule

A South African commission charged with probing allegations of widespread corruption under the government of former President Jacob Zuma started its first public hearings on Monday in Johannesburg.

The commission will investigate whether Zuma, his allies, and a wealthy business family, the Guptas, tried to influence the hiring and firing of government officials, among other allegations.

The body, which does not have prosecutorial powers but which can recommend legal action, was established up in January by Zuma, just weeks before he was forced to resign in disgrace by his own party, the African National Congress.

Former public protector Thuli Madonsela, who tangled with Zuma for years over public money he used to upgrade his private estate, mandated that the president set up the commission of inquiry in a scathing report on corruption allegations against Zuma and his allies in 2016.

Zuma and members of the Gupta family have denied any wrongdoing.

Deputy chief justice Raymond Zondo, who is heading the body, said on Monday that the commission’s work had already been delayed because the state security agency had been dragging its feet in granting the security clearances needed to proceed with investigations.

He also said the public’s response to his call to come forward with information relevant to the probe was “disappointing,” given the high level of public interest in the corruption allegations against the former president, his inner circle, and the Gupta family.

“The response has not been what we expected,” Zondo said on Monday.

“We all know there are many people out there who know – and who have evidence – of some of things that were happening. This commission is an opportunity for all of us in the country to play a role, to contribute to finding a solution.”

Several high-profile witnesses are expected to testify as the hearing gets underway, including former deputy finance minister Mcebisi Jonas, who has alleged that Ajay Gupta offered him money and the position of Finance Minister. Gupta has denied the allegations.

Source: Voice of America

Seven men appear in court for unlawful possession of firearms and ammunition

Nelspruit: Seven men appeared before the Witbank Magistrate’s Court today, facing charges of unlawful possession of firearms and ammunition.

The appearance of the men came after they were arrested by the Detectives and the Trio Task Team in Witbank on Saturday, 18 August 2018, after they received information from the police in Springs to be on the lookout for a hijacked vehicle and video footage of the commission of crime was forwarded to the team in Witbank. Upon viewing the footage, the police in Witbank identified one suspect as a complainant in a case that they are investigating. They then went to arrest that suspect and subsequently all of them were arrested as a result, and a total of five firearms as well as ammunition were seized.

All suspects have appeared in court and were remanded in custody and the case was postponed to next week Monday, 27 August 2018, for a formal bail application. The suspects are also expected to appear at Springs for the initial charge of carjacking.

The Provincial Commissioner of the police in Mpumalanga, Lieutenant General Mondli Zuma, appreciated the team for the arrest and the seizure of all the firearms.

Source: South African Police Service

International Relations and Cooperation hosts indaba on Legally Binding Instrument to regulate activities of transnational corporations, 21-22 Aug

Indaba on a Legally Binding Instrument To Regulate The Activities Of Transnational Corporations

The Department of International Relations and Cooperation (DIRCO), working jointly with ActionAid South Africa and supported by Lawyers for Human Rights and the Centre for Applied Legal Studies (CALS), invite the media to an indaba and community visit aimed at soliciting views about South Africa’s role as co-sponsor of the proposed Legally Binding Instrument To Regulate The Activities Of Transnational Corporations And Other Business Enterprises With Respect To Human Rights.

At its June 2014 session, the UN Human Rights Council adopted Resolution 26/9 by which it decided to establish an open-ended intergovernmental working group on transnational corporations and other business enterprises with respect to human rights, whose mandate shall be to elaborate an international legally binding instrument to regulate, in international human rights law, the activities of transnational corporations and other business enterprises.

Participants at the indaba will include relevant National Government Departments, Chapter 9 institutions, trade unions, civil society organisations, business and a select group of international guests.

Source: Government of South Africa

The SAFA Women’s Administrators Course 2018 gets underway

The Women’s Administrators Course for 2018, organised by the South African Football Association (SAFA) and funded by the world governing body FIFA, got underway on Monday, 20 August 2018 at the SAFA Technical Centre in the south of Johannesburg.

It runs until Thursday, 23 August.

This is the third edition of the event, which was first hosted in 2016, then in 2017 for the 52 Regional Executive Officers � the women who run football in their respective regions.

The two courses were led by FIFA Instructor Ebro Koksal.

The 2018 event is as a resut of a request to have a follow-up gathering to get more information on the running of SAFA in all aspects.

This time, coaches or the nine recently-appointed women Provincial Technical Officers, as well as some top women referees have been invited.

This is a great event that will further empower women in administration in the regions to ensure SAFA grows into a world class body. This is the biggest gathering of women we have had so far, and it is exciting for us because it is historical, said Fran Hilton-Smith, SAFA Assistant Technical Director and Head of Women’s Football, who has put the event together.

FIFA has sponsored this course and they will send delegates to cover the event. Also, several high powered personnel will make presentations to the participants on various topics that affect women in football. It’s good to have women run their own affairs, and hopefully this will be as successful as the previous two editions.

One of those women, is SAFA Vice President Ria Ledwada who gave a keynote address on the first day.

Others speakers lined up this week include Nomsa Mahlangu and Emma Hendricks, who are both on the SAFA Women’s Committee; guest speakers, Dr Nomsa Nkuna-Boikanyo, Sports Psychologist; Anneline Lewies, SASCOC; as well as Jessica and Kemiso Motaung, who will speak about the role of digital and marketing in football.

Source: South African Football Association