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South Africa calls for SADC action to end Gaza conflict |11 December 2023

South Africa calls for SADC action to end Gaza conflict

The Speaker of the Parliament of South Africa, Hon. Nosiviwe Noluthando Mapisa-Nqakula (Photo: Phandulwazi Jikelo, Parliament of South Africa)

The Speaker of the Parliament of South Africa, Honorable Nosiviwe Noluthando Mapisa-Nqakula, has called for immediate action to end the devastating conflict in Gaza.

Hon. Mapisa-Nqakula made the call last week when she delivered a statement to the 54th Plenary Assembly Session of the Southern African Development Community Parliamentary Forum under Rule 45 of the SADC PF’s Rules of Procedure under which the President of the SADC PF may allow a Speaker or a Leader of Delegation of a Member Parliament who wishes to make a statement on issues of importance to the Forum to do so.

In her statement, the Speaker expressed profound concern over the loss of civilian lives and human rights abuses in the region.

“I rise today with a heavy heart and profound concern over the conflict that has engulfed Gaza leading to unimaginable human trafficking,” the Speaker said, highlighting the destruction of vital infrastructure, displacement of millions, and the loss of thousands of civilian lives, including women, children, and the elderly.

Hon. Mapisa-Nqakula extended condolences to the victims and conveyed solidarity to the Palestinian people who she said endured blatant war crimes. Notably, she said South Africa welcomed the release of hostages under a temporary ceasefire, expressing hope for a de-escalation of the conflict.

Underscoring the need for international pressure, Hon. Mapisa-Nqakula called on SADC Member States and the broader region to unite in urging Israel to cease military aggression through a comprehensive ceasefire. Additionally, she implored the international community to leverage its influence, lifting the complete blockade of Gaza and spearheading reforms within international mechanisms.

“Only through a comprehensive settlement recognising two states coexisting side-by-side can the people of Palestine and Israel attain true freedom and all inherent rights,” the Speaker asserted, urging consistent solidarity for peace and justice.

The President of the SADC PF, Hon. Roger Mancienne, echoed Hon. Mapisa-Nqakula’s sentiments, accentuating the urgent need to end the humanitarian crisis in Gaza.

“The protracted crisis has led to widespread violations of international humanitarian and human rights law,” the SADC PF President noted. The urgency of upholding international law for a viable path to peace in Gaza was underscored.

Hon. Mapisa-Nqakula and Hon. Mancienne called for the international community to unite, ensure accountability for violations, and work toward a peaceful resolution respecting all parties' rights and aspirations.


By Moses Magadza

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