PAP must encourage member states to ratify Charter

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Pretoria - International Relations and Cooperation Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane has called on the Pan African Parliament (PAP) to embark on a vigorous campaign to encourage member state to ratify the Charter on Democracy, Elections and Governance - which South Africa has ratified.

"The Charter provides the necessary impetus for participatory democracy, whereby all segments of the society have a say in the administration of public affairs."

Speaking at the 7th Session of PAP on Monday, Nkoana-Mashabane said the pace of the accession to this important Charter had been far from satisfactory.

"We therefore encourage more member states to do the right thing and join all of us who have signed and ratified this Charter. However, this Charter must be given effect by domesticating it so that it can have an impact and a meaning to our people," she told the parliament.

The Charter, which was adopted in January 2007 by the African Union (AU), aims to promote and strengthen democratic principles, processes and procedures within member states.

The minister also touched on the PAP's legislative powers, saying it required capacity to carry out its functions.

Currently the PAP only serves as an advisory body of the AU.

Nkoana-Mashabane said South Africa supported the campaign and the decision of the AU to have the protocol of the PAP reviewed to ensure a stronger parliament.

"It is therefore necessary for us to redouble our efforts in working towards the transformation of this Organ from its advisory status to a legislative one," the minister added.