Parliament Portfolio Committee on International Relations and Cooperation on outcome of recent African Union Summit

International Relations Committee Chair statement on outcome of recent African Union Summit

The Chairperson of the Portfolio Committee on International Relations and Cooperation, Mr Supra Mahumapelo, has followed with great interest the developments at the Assembly of African Union (AU) Heads of State and Government over the weekend, as it commenced its 35th ordinary session.

The Assembly was held in-person, after the 2021 event had to be held virtually due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Mr Mahumapelo also noted that Covid-19 and security featured high on the assembly’s agenda, as did the controversial issue of Israel’s observer status at the AU, granted by the Chairperson of the AU Commission, Mr Faki Mahamat.

“I observed every African leader in the assembly condemning the recent wave of putsches and unconstitutional changes of government on the continent and was encouraged by the unprecedented number of member states that have been suspended from the AU, as they had no immediate guaranties for a transition to civilian rule,” commented Mr Mahumapelo.

Guinea, Mali, Sudan and Burkina Faso are currently suspended. However, the AU has itself been accused of inconsistencies, by failing to suspend Chad after a military council took over it in April 2021.

The Chairperson applauded the Department of International Relations and Cooperation and South Africa for leading the campaign with Algeria to put on the summit’s agenda the issue of Israel’s observer status at the AU.

“We have noted with relief that the summit has agreed to suspend a debate on the AU chairman’s controversial decision to grant observer status to Israel, delaying a potentially divisive vote,” said Mr Mahumapelo. South Africa and Algeria argued that the decision flew in the face of AU statements supporting Palestinian territories. It was also noted that the AU has launched a six-member-state committee to examine this issue and report to the AU. South Africa is one of the six.

It was also observed that the AU Commission Chairperson, Mr Mahamat, defended Israel's observer accreditation, noting that 44 member states have diplomatic ties with Israel. In furtherance of the committee’s oversight interest, the committee will call upon the Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, Dr Naledi Pandor, to inform the committee how it intends to address some of the statements about South Africa contained in Mr Mahamat’s statement on the issue.

Source: Government of South Africa