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Debate on Africa Day by Chairperson of the Portfolio Committee on International Relations and Cooperation, Hon. Siphosezwe Masango, MP

13 June 2017, Parliament of the Republic of South Africa

Honourable Speaker
Honourable Members
Distinguished Guests in the Gallery
Fellow South Africans

The Heads of State and Government in their Summit held in Kigali on 29 January, 2017, masterfully noted that, I quote: "Continuing to defer necessary reforms to the future is an implicit decision to do nothing. It means giving up on ourselves and our people, tolerating our conditions as inevitable, and accepting Africa`s subordinate place in the community of nations as natural".

Hon Members, it is indeed instructive to note that amongst the seminal decisions taken by this Summit, was
Realignment of the African Union Institutions to deliver against its priorities.

Self-financing of the AU by the African States because foreign donations undermines Africa`s national sovereignty.

And a Faster implementation of decisions and programmes.

Fellow South Africans, I cannot agree more with Prof Thandika Mkandawire when he urges the continent to train its own professional cadres, Afrocrats. He argues that Afrocrats must understands the vision of their political principals and thus be passionate in implementing such a vision and its programmes within the AU, the Pan African Parliament (PAP) and their National Governments.

Hon Members, former President of Nigeria, Olusegun Obasanjo and co-authors "Making Africa Work", a handbook for economic success, not only highlights some of our current weaknesses but also cautions us that by 2050, Africa`s youth could be a whopping 430 million, thus honing their skills, expertise and employability is an urgent task.

Sihlalo nendlu yesiBetha-Mthetho kazi kuyatlhuwisa kwamambala ukutjheja bonyana lapha e Afrika ilizwe le Western Sahara nabantu bakhona basese ngaphasi kwegandrelelo le Morocco.

Njengathi ngaphambi kuka 1994, bayatlhagiswa, bayamanywa, bayadusulwa, begodu babotjhwe nabanghonghoyilako.

Sithi i AU namazwe womhlaba woke akaragele phambili ngomzabalazo wokutjhaphulula i Western Sahara.

And yet the DA is conspicuous by its silence to this excruciating colonial yolk of oppression by Morocco on Western Sahara and it equally equivocates about human rights in Palestine. Their silence was deafening on the recent hunger strike by the #PoliticalPrisonersofPalestine.

Fellow Compatriots, the OAU 1963, AU 2002 and aspirations embodied in the African Agenda 2063, are a quintessential fulfilment of the vision of Kwame Nkrumah, Nnamdi Azikiwe, Jomo Kenyatta, Pixley ka Isaka Seme, OR Tambo and many others in the Diaspora.

Nkrumah noted that "We all want a united Africa not only in our concept of what unity connotes, but united in our common desire to move forward together in dealing with all the problems that can best be solved only on a continental basis".

Fellow Africans, thus shall we make bold our unassailable assertion that South Africa is proud to have deployed its leadership in brokering peace, deployed peacekeeping forces and continues to participate in periodic Election Observation Missions in the continent. By the way, peace is indeed a conditio sine qua non for development. The objective of silencing the guns by 2020 continue apace.

Hon Members, the Africa We Want, through Agenda 2063, behoves us to maintain the current diplomatic footprint of 124 missions, 47 of which are in Africa because its in our best National Interest. As a nation, we don`t want to be a passive political passenger on the global stage, whilst human civilization evolves.

Africa stands firm in its resolve for the realization of a caring, a humane, and a just world order. Thus the demand for the democratization, representatively in the UNSC and other multilateral global governance institutions remains in strategic sight.

We cannot allow few nations to wallow in opulence whilst Africa drowns in abject poverty, as correctly observed by Walter Rodney in his 1972 treatise "How Europe Under-developed Africa"

Sihlalo, ngo 2017, we must revive discussions about Pan-Africanism and what it truly represents, we must re-appropriate our common history, our identity, our films and literature, our oneness in diversity, our values of Ubuntu and avoid all trappings of foreign enculturation.

In our various jurisdictions, we need to rekindle our national consciousness through our National Anthems and the singing of the AU Anthem to reassert our common destiny.

We therefore applaud the initiative taken by the institute for Pan African Thought and Conversation at UJ for bringing together, this weekend, academics, historians, economists, philosophers and social scientists to commemorate Africa Day, June 16th and to contribute to the decolonization of the academic curriculum so that it can truly reflect the African context.

Hon Members, colonialism, slavery and apartheid undoubtedly inflicted unyielding scars on the socio-economic landscape of the continent.

It is thus disheartening and an insult to the memory of the founders of the OAU, the AU or the memory of Steve Biko, Nelson Mandela, George Padmore, Robert Sobukwe, Franz Fanon, Maya Angelou and many others involved in the crucible of struggle against colonialism to hear that Zille, a beneficiary of our freedom, has zig-zagged Mandela`s reconciliation into a zilch by extolling colonialism, slavery and apartheid.

Phamberi ne Chimurenga!


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