NCOP deputy chair elected to IPU position

The Deputy Chairperson of the National Council of Provinces (NCOP), Mr Raseriti Tau, has been elected President of the International Peace and Security Committee of the Inter Parliamentary Union (IPU) at the Union's assembly held in Geneva last month. Mr Tau's term as President of the committee ends in October 2018.

South Africa's multi-party delegation to the IPU Assembly on 12-16 October was led by the National Assembly (NA) Speaker, Ms Baleka Mbete. The main theme of the Assembly was: “Achieving gender equality, ending violence against women”.

IPU Members adopted an emergency resolution with proposals for a debate including the rights of the Palestinian people; the role of MPs and IPU in fighting terrorism and extremism, as well as action to combat human trafficking.

A resolution on “International law as it relates to national sovereignty, non-intervention in the internal affairs of States and human rights” was also adopted by IPU Members on the concluding day. A packed agenda included discussions on water governance, climate change, cooperation to counter the global drug problem, the role of parliaments in striking a balance between national security and individual freedoms, and the influence of corporate investment in sustainable development.

A roundtable on the situation in the Middle East convened by the Committee on Middle East Questions in parallel to the 131st Assembly also take place. IPU Members and UN representatives looked at what parliaments can do to promote and secure peace between Israel and Palestine following recent events, as well as IPU's role in promoting peace in the region as a whole. The 20th Meeting of Women Parliamentarians also took place on the side lines of the IPU Assembly.

The delegation comprised a strong ten-member line-up that included Mr Raseriti Tau, Deputy Chairperson of the National Council of Provinces (NCOP); Ms Lindiwe N Mjobo, Member of the NA ; Mr Sibongile P Tsoleli, Member of the NA; Dr Hunadi E Mateme, Chief Whip of the NCOP; Mr Mike Waters , Member of the NA; Ms Thandi Mpambo-Sibhukwana, Member of the NCOP; Mr Alfred Mphontshane, Member of the NA; Ms Mmatlala G Boroto, House Chairperson for International Relations in the NA and Ms Masefako Dikgale, House Chairperson for International Relations in the NCOP.