The cost of Pan-African Parliament on SA under the spotlight

During her budget vote last month, International Relations Minister Naledi Pandor said South Africa’s contribution to the African Union in general was expected to decrease from R437.9 million R 275.4 million by 2022/23.

The Pan African Parliament's headquarters in Midrand, Johannesburg. Picture: Twitter/@AfrikParliament.

JOHANNESBURG - Ordinary citizens have started asking what it costs to maintain the Pan-African Parliament as it came under the spotlight this week, with legislators exchanging blows and death threats until the elections of office bearers and the sitting were suspended.

During her budget vote last month, International Relations Minister Naledi Pandor said South Africa’s contribution to the African Union in general was expected to decrease from R437.9 million R 275.4 million by 2022/23.

The AU contributions are about 6% of a total departmental budget that will go up from R6.8 billion R7 billion this year - excluding the cost of hosting the Parliament.

In addition to its annual African Union member state contributions - which are budgeted at R265 million this year - South Africa hosts the seat of the Pan-African Parliament at Gallagher Estate in Midrand.

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The host country agreement was entered into in 2004 to provide for dedicated, equipped, and furnished premises at the country’s expense for the period from 2005 to 2009 or such further period as may be agreed between the parties.

South Africa also houses and transports the president and other office bearers.

In 2017 when President Roger Nkodo Dang couldn’t account for expenditure; the pap committee of public accounts CAPA also noted that the host country agreement had not been renewed and had affected the quality of services.

At that time, South Africa had spent R46.6 million in 2014. But no amounts had been recorded for 2015 and 2016.

CAPA also said Dang from Cameroon, who was also seeking a second term despite an agreed principle that regions would rotate every term, had failed to control expenditure, which was ballooning.

And he was hiring support staff from his country and region for committee and plenary sittings and paying them at dollar rates while ignoring recommendations to employ staff already in South Africa at rand rates.

Clerk Vipya Harawa revealed at the time that Dang had rejected ministerial standard accommodation offered by South Africa and had stayed at the upmarket Michelangelo Hotel for most of 2015 and 2016 – and eventually moved to an exclusive estate that cost R80,000 per month.

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