Parliament of South Africa

12/01/2021 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 12/01/2021 02:46

SA Parliamentary Delegation Wraps Up Successful Participation at 143rd IPU Assembly

Parliament, Wednesday, 1 December 2021 - The five-day 143rd Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) Assembly, which took place in Madrid, Spain, came to an end today with members of the South African parliamentary delegation expressing satisfaction with the quality of debates and reaffirming positions on the key issues the IPU must continue to prioritise.

The South African delegation was led by the Speaker of the National Assembly, Ms Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula, and comprised the Deputy Chairperson of the National Council of Provinces, Ms Sylvia Lucas; National Assembly House Chairperson for International Relations Mr Madala Ntombela; the Chief Whip of the Economic Freedom Fighters, Mr Floyd Shivambu, African National Congress Member of Parliament Ms Judith Tshabalala and Democratic Alliance Member of Parliament Dr Annelie Lotriet.

Speaker Mapisa-Nqakula addressed both the IPU General Assembly and the Brazil, Russian, India, China, South Africa Parliamentary Forum over the course of the five days. She noted that the South African delegation was pleased that the issue of equity in the manufacturing and distribution of the Covid19 vaccines was prioritised during the emergency item debate. This indicates that most countries are united in ending exclusivity and nationalisation of vaccines, Ms Mapisa-Nqakula pointed out.

The Speaker commended African parliaments for tabling an emergency item on equity in vaccine manufacturing during an Assembly plenary, which was fully supported by the rest of the world parliaments. IPU statutes provide for one emergency item on the agenda at an IPU Assembly, but that item may only be placed on the agenda if two thirds of the votes cast are in support. Furthermore, the rules state: "Should several requests obtain the requisite majority, the one having received the largest number of positive votes shall be accepted."

The Speaker also expressed her pride in how the young delegation members spoke strongly on a wide range of issues, calling for parliaments across the globe to demonstrate practical and concrete action to resolve. This included the issues of women and youth representation to ensure fair and equitable representation of the world population in legislative bodies.

"It is now time for the older generation to hand over the baton and allow young people to take over," she said.

To download the soundbite of Ms Mapisa-Nqakula click this link:

Earlier this week, the NCOP's Deputy Chairperson Ms Lucas addressed IPU's forum of women parliamentarians, where she emphasised the importance of gender equity in Parliaments. She asserted that no nation can develop and prosper while a significant portion of its population is excluded, therefore, parliaments of the world must place women's issues at the top of their agenda. It is not enough for women to play a role in Parliament, Ms Lucas emphasised, they must also assume positions of responsible leadership.

To download the soundbite of Ms Lucas click this link:

One of the young members of the SA parliamentary delegation, Mr Shivambu, urged the IPU to deal with undemocratic parliaments participating at the IPU. He strongly believes such parliaments should be isolated.

In addition, Mr Shivambu said, the issues of women and youth representation in parliaments in the pursuit of gender parity needs urgent intervention. "There has to be a mechanism or global legislation that is sponsored and pushed at IPU that sets out clearly female representation in parliaments," he said.

The percentage of youth representation in parliaments is unsatisfactory, considering that 30 per cent of the world's population is made up of young people below the age of 30 and yet, on average, only two per cent of parliamentary representation comprises young people.

He added that perhaps the IPU also needed to introduce a requirement that all the delegations must have no less than 50% representation of women parliamentarians as one of the mechanisms to encourage world parliaments to create space for increased women representation.

To download the soundbite of Mr Shivambu click this link:

Dr Lotriet, who represented Parliament in the IPU's standing committee on sustainability and development, which also dealt with issues of access to education and water as human rights, appreciated how diverse IPU member parliaments demonstrated unity regarding availability and accessibility of Covid-19 vaccines. This will strengthen the world's collective response to the pandemic and ensure increased access by poorer nations.

To download the soundbite of Dr Lotriet, click this link:

The 143rd IPU Assembly concluded its business with the adoption of a wide range of resolutions tabled from various forums and committees, which have been deliberating concurrently with the IPU's main plenary. Article seven of the IPU statutes requires that members take appropriate domestic action to inform their parliaments and governments of IPU resolutions in order to "stimulate their implementation".

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, with its headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland.

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