Parliament, Thursday 27 May 2021 – National Council of Provinces Chairperson Mr Amos Masondo commends the Pan African Parliament (PAP) Bureau for suspending the 4th Ordinary Session today after it emerged that a PAP staff member contracted Covid-19.

The PAP suspended all its business until Monday after it was discovered that a member of staff had tested positive for Covid-19. Today was day four of the 4th Ordinary Session of the Fifth PAP meeting held in Midrand under he African Union’s theme for 2021: “Year of the Arts, Culture and Heritage: Levers for Building the Africa We Want.’’

“I want to express my appreciation of the vigilance and the promptness by the PAP Bureau to manage the situation by cancelling today’s very important sitting,” said Chairperson Masondo who is the leader of the Parliament of the Republic of South Africa delegation to the PAP.

As a precautionary measure in line with Covid-19 protocols the PAP evacuated its precinct in Midrand, Johannesburg to allow for decontamination. The 4th Ordinary Session programme, to he held until Friday June 4, will resume with the swearing in of new Members and the election of the new Bureau.

“It was important that the PAP meet physically in Midrand in order to elect leadership that will take forward the issues of the continent during this difficult time,” said Chairperson Masondo adding that he was pleased with assurances from the PAP Secretariat that contacts are already being traced and managed according to the SA Department of Health guidelines and protocols.

Today’s Sitting was suspended while Members were involved in a heated debate on the rules governing the election of the PAP President. In March 2021, following a five-day meeting of various organs of the continental parliament, the PAP Permanent Committee on Rules adopted amendments to the Rules of Procedure that allowed for the rotation of the Presidency starting from this 4th Ordinary Session. Members were in disagreement with some arguing that these new rules have not yet been ratified.

Southern Africa’s position is that the Presidency of the PAP should be rotated to afford all regions an opportunity to lead thereby fostering unity – moving away from the current position where those who have wealth and numbers determine the outcome of the elections.

Issues that are still to be discussed during the session includes the Report by the Permanent Committees on the COVID-19 pandemic in Africa; the Report of the Ad hoc Committee on the election of the President of the Pan-African Parliament; Committee Meetings and Meeting of the Network of Women Parliamentarians.

Other Members of the multiparty Parliament of RSA delegation to the PAP are Ms Penny Majodina - the Chief Whip of the Majority Party in the National Assembly, Dr Mathole Motshekga, Mr Julius S Malema - leader of the Economic Freedom Fighters, and Mr Thembekile R Majola, from the Democratic Alliance.

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