NA Speaker wants a stop to unconstitutional changes of government


National Assembly (NA) Speaker Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula added her voice to that of South African President Cyril Ramaphosa calling for a stop to unconstitutional changes of government in Africa.

She was speaking at a Conference of Speakers and Heads of African Parliaments (CoSAP) meeting in Abuja, Nigeria, earlier this month.

Her words come in the wake of Ramaphosa saying there should be continental support for African countries facing what he termed “the resurgence” of unconstitutional government changes when addressing the African Peer Review Mechanism Forum in February. He also raised the issue with Guinea Bissau President Umaro Embalo during an April state visit.

Over the past two years “a spate” of coups and attempted coups “beset” West Africa in Burkina Faso, Mali, Guinea and recently, Guinea Bissau SAnews reported.

“The promotion of democracy, human rights and good governance on our continent has become a particularly critical endeavour at this time,” it had Ramaphosa saying.

“The resurgence of unconstitutional change of governments in parts of Africa is of concern and we must support efforts of ECOWAS (Economic Community of West African States) and the AU Peace and Security Council in this regard,” he said.

At the CoSAP meeting Mapisa-Nqakula, participating in a debate on parliaments accelerating recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, said the “emerging trend (of unconstitutional government change) should be prevented by interventions, without going into specifics. She told the meeting citizens governed by unconstitutionally installed governments may fail to enjoy the benefits of work done by forums such as the CoSAP.

South Africa’s delegation to the COSAP meeting included National Council of Provinces (NCOP) Deputy Chair Sylvia Lucas and Pemmy Majodina, ANC Chief Whip. The delegation met Speakers and other heads of African parliaments to discuss matters of shared interest, in particular efforts to build effective legislative systems to advance African unity and cohesion.