Acting SG says SADC PF has come of age

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The Acting Secretary General of the SADC Parliamentary Forum Ms. Boemo SekgomaThe Acting Secretary General of the SADC Parliamentary Forum Ms. Boemo Sekgoma says the SADC PF has evolved to tackle issues of major concern to the SADC Region such as good governance, trade, issues of women empowerment, gender equality and HIV and AIDS among others. Ms. Sekgoma said this when she introduced delegates to the 43rd Plenary Assembly Session of SADC, which met in the Angolan capital of Luanda in June 2018.

Speaking directly to the President of Angola, His Excellency Joao Manuel Goncalves Lourenco, Ms. Sekgoma said the SADC PF was deeply indebted to Angola, which was hosting the Plenary Assembly Session for the third time.

“This is the third time that the National Assembly of Angola is hosting the SADC Parliamentary Forum Plenary Assembly Session. The first time was right here in Luanda in April of 2002 and the second was in Lubango in June 2011. Throughout the life of the forum, the National Assembly of Angola has demonstrated its unwavering commitment,” Ms. Sekgoma said.

 

She said the Forum was the voice of Parliamentarians of the SADC Region, which draws its membership from 14 national parliaments.

“It provides a platform for Members of Parliament as the representatives of the people, to consult, consider and dialogue on matters of national and regional concern. Through this broad representation of Members of Parliament, the forum is an epitome of participatory democracy,” she said.

Ms. Sekgoma explained that the Plenary Assembly is the highest policy making organ and deliberative organ of the SADC PF that meets twice a year to deliberate on matters of policy and make decisions on matters of interest to the SADC PF in particular and to the SADC Region in general. The 43rd SADC Plenary Assembly Session was its first meeting in 2018.

“As the main policy making body of the Forum, the Plenary Assembly has been consistent in providing a platform which has helped to shape policy and parliamentary processes in all the SADC member states. The 43rd Plenary Assembly Session is one such platform that contains that consistence,” she said.

The 43rd Plenary Assembly Session was held under the theme: Deepening SADC Economic Integration through Industrialisation - The Role of Parliaments

Ms. Sekgoma said the theme had been carefully selected in order to advance the regional integraintegration agenda of SADC.

“This Plenary Assembly will therefore, critically examine the role of Parliamentarians in deepening SADC’s economic integration through industrialization,” she said.

She then introduced delegates to the 43rd Plenary Assembly Session to the Angolan Head of State. These were: National Assembly of Angola which had a delegation of 13 members led by Hon. Fernando da Piedade Dias dos Santos, Member of Parliament and Speaker of the National Assembly of Angola and President of the SADC PF and also host of the 43rd Plenary Assembly Session; the Parliament of Botswana, a delegation of 7 members led by Hon. Botlogile M. Tshireletso, Member of Parliament, Assistant Minister of Local Government; the Parliament of the Democratic Republic of Congo, a delegation of 5 members led by Hon. Bonface Mukono Balamage, Member of Parliament; the Parliament of the Kingdom of Lesotho, a delegation of 8 members led by the right Hon. Sephiri Motanyane, Speaker of the National Assembly of Lesotho; the National Assembly of Malawi, a delegation of 7 members led by Hon. Patricia Kainga, Member of Parliament; the National Assembly of Mozambique, a delegation of 15 members led by Hon. Verónica Nataniel Macamo Dlhovo, Speaker of the National Assembly; the National Assembly of Namibia, a delegation of 11 members led by the Hon. Prof. Peter Katjavivi, Speaker of the National Assembly; the National Assembly of Seychelles, a delegation of 7 members led by Hon. Nicholas Prea, Speaker of the National Assembly; the Parliament of South Africa, a delegation of 13 members led by Hon. Baleka Mbete, Speaker of the Parliament of South Africa; the Parliament of the United Republic of Tanzania, a delegation of 7 members led by Hon. Selemani Zedi, Member of Parliament; the National Assembly of Zambia, a delegation of 6 members led by Hon. Prof. Nk’andu Luo, Member of Parliament and Minister of Higher Education; and the Parliament of the Republic of Zimbabwe, a delegation of 15 members led by Hon. Adv. Jacob Francis Mudenda, Speaker of the National Assembly.

She explained that apologies had been received from the National Assembly of the Kingdom of Eswatini and the National Assembly of Mauritius. “In total, we have 12 Parliaments attending this Plenary Assembly Session, of which 7 delegations are led by Speakers and 5 delegations by Members of Parliament, 5 of the 12 delegations are led by women representing 42 per cent,” she said to applause.

Ms. Sekgoma then introduced observers that had been invited to the Plenary. These were: The East Africa Legislative Assembly, a delegation of four members led by Hon. Fatuma Ibrahim Ali, Member of EALA, representing the Speaker; the Pan African Parliament represented by Hon. Helio De Jesus Bina Sanchez, Member of the Pan African Parliament and Chairperson of the PAP West African Caucus, Member of Parliament from Cape Verde; Dr. Stergomena Lawrence Tax, Executive Secretary of SADC, represented by Dr Johansein Rutaihwa; and Dr. Elias Isaac Director of the Open Society Initiative of Southern Africa, Angola Office.

Ms. Sekgoma expressed gratitude to the Government of the National Assembly of Angola and the people of the Republic of Angola through the Hon. Speaker, Hon. Fernando da Piedade Dias dos Santos, Speaker of the National Assembly of Angola and President of the SADC Parliamentary SADC Forum, “for graciously hosting the 43rd SADC Plenary Assembly Session at this beautiful Palace of the Parliament in this beautiful city of Luanda.”

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