Posted on Wednesday, 03 August 2016 15:12

Pan African Parliament members in relocation drive over Jo'burg insecurity

By Godfrey Olukya

Photo©Nasser Nasser/AP/SIPAMembers of the Pan African Parliament say violent attacks against them in South Africa are on the rise after that country's government withdrew certain security privileges.

Members of the Pan African Parliament (PAP), sitting in Midrand, South Africa, have condemned an increase in violent attacks against them when they converge in South Africa and demanded more security.

In statement, PAP members are also demanding for the relocation of the organisation's headquarters from South Africa to a country where members' security can be guaranteed, if the host country cannot give assurances of their safety.

We would like to review the headquarters agreement and negotiate another headquarters

Tuesday evening's parliamentary debate came on the heels of an attack on a Senegalese member of the continent's legislative body. Aissatou Sow Diawara, who was critically injured in a gun attack on 28 July on her way to her hotel from Johannesburg's OR Tambo International Airport.

Three other PAP Members from Namibia, sharing the same vehicle, were also robbed off their belongings, forcing them to return to Namibia.

"Details surrounding the incidents are still under investigation by the police," the statement read.

According to Fortune Charumbira from Zimbabwe, PAP members had become more susceptible to attacks following South Africa's government's withdrawal of certain privileges. Charumbira said the host country agreement had lapsed and that there was no obligation for it to provide elaborate services to members.

But one of Mali's parliamentary representatives, Haidara Aichata, wants to know if the South African government is "waiting until one of our members loses their life in order for measures to protect us to be implemented?". Adding that "We would like to review the headquarters agreement and negotiate another headquarters".

Sudan's Idris Yousif said political will was needed to address the security of MPs.

"The last time we were told 'measures will be taken'. We need to accept that we are living in a situation of insecurity and we cannot continue our work in those conditions".

July's attacks follow a trail of violent incidents reported in August 2015, October 2015, March 2016 and May 2016.

"Security is an individual matter first before being a collective matter," PAP president, Roger Nkodo Dang, said, further reassuring members that the security of the MPs had been stepped up, although he was unable to give details.

Founded in March 2004, The Pan African Parliament comprises five members from each of the 47 of the 54 African Union member states.

Members of the continental legislature are expected to meet again in October in Egypt.

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