Parliament, Friday, 29 July 2021 – The Chairperson of the Portfolio Committee on International Relations and Cooperation, Ms Tandi Mahambehlala, said: “We have observed with concern the unfolding developments in the African Union Commission, where it is reported that on 22 July 2021 the Israeli envoy to Ethiopia submitted to the AU Commission Chairperson an Israeli charter as an observer member to the African Union.
“It must be emphasised,” Ms Mahambehlala continued, “that the committee’s discomfort is with regard to the South African foreign policy stand of support regarding the issue of self-determination for the people of Palestine. Until Palestine is free, there can be no compromise on the fight for the redress of the human rights’ violations imposed by Israel on the Palestinian people.”
In terms of oversight, the committee will leave no stone unturned in seeking an explanation from the executive on how this decision was made, the African Union’s (AU’s) criteria for granting observer status, and the Chairperson of the AU Commission’s powers in these matters. “It is in the interests of the committee that the continental body aligns itself with its own resolutions on Palestine,” continued Ms Mahambehlala.
South Africa should vigorously demand that all members of the AU be afforded the courtesy of an explanation on how this decision was made. It is the portfolio committee’s view that the AU should by all means be shielded from undue external influence, to ensure its independence and integrity.
The committee further commends the Department of International Relations and Cooperation for expressing its dismay on this decision. The committee believes that South Africa should ensure that such political and strategic matters should be handled in consultation with all AU member states.
ISSUED BY THE PARLIAMENTARY COMMUNICATION SERVICES ON BEHALF OF THE CHAIRPERSON OF THE PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE ON INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS AND COOPERATION, MS TANDI MAHAMBEHLALA.
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