To download a video of the address of the Speaker Ms Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula click here

Parliament, Sunday, 28 November 2021 – The Speaker of the National Assembly Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula has commended South Africa and India’s efforts for proposing initiatives to the World Trade Organisation and United Nations for wavering of specific trade-related aspects of intellectual property rights relating to the manufacturing of Covid-19 vaccines, medicines, diagnostic and other technologies.

This call will enable drug makers in poor countries to produce effective vaccines
and purchase vaccines at reasonable prices.

She said the hindering of the production and access to Covid-19 vaccines, is a typical example that exposes the inherent fault lines resulting in skewed experiences of democracy within the world governance system.

The Speaker was delivering an address during a debate at the 143rd Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) Assembly plenary currently taking place in Madrid, Spain under the theme: Contemporary challenges to democracy: Overcoming division and building community.

She pointed key characteristics of democracy as those which empowers citizens to have a say and to participate in the affairs of their countries. The Speaker challenged governments to reflect on the extent that democracy has been able to be a centered system and a catalyst for human development beyond its structural measure of indicators and checks and balances.

“It (democracy) has brought about the recognition of rights of women, the protection of vulnerable sectors, promoted accountability and central planning in the usage of economic resources and to some extent, facilitated some giant leaps towards the illusive world peace” said Ms Mapisa-Nqakula.

Speaker stated that for democracy to survive, it is important that it is responsive to the socio-economic plight of all people and not just be about the structural indicators. “Democracy as a system must protect its own legitimacy and demonstrate the moral authority required by governments to govern. Failure to do this will create other challenges, as it will cause a serious backlash against democracy, albeit populist led, giving rise to opportunism and polarisation of communities” she said.

She affirmed the support of the government and Parliament of the Republic of South Africa for a two-state solution to Israel/Palestine and Morocco/Western Sahara situation. “Both States have an inherent right to coexist as sovereign states. It is our considered view that, the IPU as a global Parliament should not shy away in making its voice heard. In fact, the IPU, as the Global Parliament should spearhead efforts aimed at finding lasting solutions to these global challenges affecting humanity” said the Speaker.

She further stated that South Africa fully supported sentiments that were echoed during the IPU Assembly opening session regarding the continuous economic embargos by the United States against Cuba and Venezuela. Speaker called on the global community in general and the IPU Member States in particular, to desist from using economic sanctions as a punishment for ideological and political differences, asserting that such was an infringement to the right to life and development of countries, and caused the suffering of particularly women and children.

“It has been proven on numerous occasions that in every war, instability, insecurity, famine, outbreak of killer diseases and pandemics, women are the most affected. Statistics are showing that incidences of women abuse and violence against women have increased since the outbreak of COVID 19” she said.

She made a call to IPU Member States to strengthen their resolve for gender equality and to put in place measures through policies and the promulgation of laws that seek to promote gender equality and the protection of women against gender-based violence and abuse.

Speaker urged Parliaments and Parliamentarians to remain vigilant, to play their oversight role and to ensure public participation in monitoring the Reconstruction and Recovery Plans of the economies affected by the scourge of COVID 19. The recovery plans, she added, needed to better the lives of women, youth and girl children.

The Speaker is currently leading a six-member delegation at the IPU comprising of the Deputy Chairperson of the National Council of Provinces Ms Sylvia Lucas, National Assembly House Chairperson for International Relations Madala Ntombela, Chief Whip of the Economic Freedom Fighters Mr Floyd Shivambu, ANC Member of Parliament Ms Judith Tshabalala and DA Member of Parliament Dr. Annelie Lotriet.

She is also expected address the inaugural meeting of the Non-Aligned Movement Parliamentary network, a structure of the IPU, this evening in Madrid, Paris.

The IPU is a global organisation of national parliaments. It facilitates parliamentary diplomacy and empowers parliaments and parliamentarians to promote peace, democracy and sustainable development around the world. The work of the IPU revolves around building strong democratic parliaments, advancing gender equality and respect for women’s rights, protecting and promoting human rights, contributing to peace-building, conflict resolution and security, promoting inter-parliamentary dialogue and cooperation, promoting youth empowerment, mobilizing parliaments around the global development agenda and bridging the democracy gap in global governance.

The IPU was established in 1889, its membership is made up of 179 national parliaments. Its headquarters are in Geneva, Switzerland.


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