The Chief Whip of the National Council of Provinces, (NCOP), Mr Seiso Mohai, has called on Parliament to strengthen its oversight over the Executive to ensure that best practices and governance models from other countries translate into the acceleration of socio-economic development in South Africa.
Mr Mohai participated as a South African delegate in the 66th Commonwealth Parliamentary Conference held in Accra, in Ghana from 30 September to 6 October 2023. He emphasised the importance of Parliament in ensuring that trade agreements that are brought to Parliament by the Executive should indicate how they address national interests.
Mr Mohai participated in the workshop under the theme: “What does sustainable trade and economic development mean for small jurisdictions?”. He said the conference deliberated extensively on the issue of unbalanced trade relations in the African continent particularly in countries that are in the North of Africa and the bigger economies such as the United States.
The deliberations sought to encourage countries in the Africa region so they can address the economic imbalances in the region. He said addressing these challenges is crucial particularly as Africa focuses on Agenda 2063, which focuses on Africa continental free trade which requires the continent to be more coherent and emerge with a common approach in order to deal with common challenges that face it.
Mr Mohai said these deliberations call for South Africa to develop industrial policies that address inequality, promote inclusive economic activity to allow for greater economic opportunities and exploration and provision of new industries through progressive funding models.
The challenge of inequality and unemployment still prevails in the Africa region. It necessitates the industrialisation of the economy to manage trade relations amongst the South-to-South countries. Mr Mohai believes that it is only through the expansion of industrialisation that job opportunities would be created where the majority of people would benefit in the developing countries. This means Africa needs to open its borders to ensure that free continental trade becomes a success.
Mr Mohai added that Parliament will need to have an efficient monitoring and evaluation model that ensures that resolutions taken at these multi-lateral forums are implemented. As an activist Parliament, it is important that the South African Parliament finds resonance with the concerns and frustrations of the people. Economic issues are dominant in the minds of the people and discussions on trade and trade agreements and the laws that govern them should be a priority for the country.
Distributed by APO Group on behalf of Republic of South Africa: The Parliament.