South Africa – Subcommittee on Review of National Assembly Rules Convenes on Removal of President

The Subcommittee on the review of National Assembly rules met today to discuss the formulation of rules to regulate the removal of a sitting President.

This relates to Section 89 of the Constitution. The Subcommittee Chairperson, Mr. Richard Mdakane, said although this had been the subject of the recent Constitutional Court judgement, the Subcommittee has for some time been in the process of amending the rules of the National Assembly. Mr. Mdakane said that although the Constitution provides for the removal of a sitting President, it does not set out the procedures of how that should be done and the Constitutional Court has tasked Parliament to “without delay” craft the rules of how such removal should occur.

The common thread in the Subcommittee meeting was for the term “serious offence” as prescribed by Section 89 of the Constitution to be defined in the new rules of the Assembly as it could mean different things to different people.

The Subcommittee also spent some time debating the format that the body should take that recommends impeachment procedures. The Subcommittee resolved for a proposal to be drafted on the possible way forward on the mechanism for impeachment. This includes the various options raised by MPs. The options included, a panel of judges to deliberate on the removal of a sitting President, a body comprising of a combination of legal experts and MPs and the last one was a Committee of Parliament constituted in a similar fashion like the Subcommittee on the Review of National Assembly rules.

The Subcommittee expects to have a draft rules ready in two weeks’ time and aims to conclude with the final document by the middle of next month (February) which will be sent to the Rules Committee of the National Assembly for adoption.

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of Republic of South Africa: The Parliament.

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Up to 100 Migrant Lives Feared Lost off Libya

The Libyan Coast Guard reported Wednesday that up to 100 migrants remain missing in the third deadly shipwreck on the Mediterranean Sea since Saturday. Now, barely a week into the New Year there already are reports of close to 200 migrants or refugees dead or missing on the Central Mediterranean route.

By contrast, IOM recorded just 26 migrant deaths on the Mediterranean Sea lanes during the just-ended month of December 2017, at a time when Mediterranean migrants deaths were dropping sharply. January 2017, for example, had witnessed some 254 deaths. Now, this week’s reports suggest that 2018’s start may be even deadlier.

IOM reported on Tuesday 09 January that a total of 81 Mediterranean Sea deaths of migrants or refugees were recorded in the first eight days of the year. Five of those deaths were in Western Mediterranean waters off Spain and Morocco. The rest – 76 with a possibility of many more – were recorded in the waters between Italy and Libya.

In the latest incident for this year, on Tuesday 9 January, three rubber boats with 279 migrants (19 women, 243 men, 13 boys and four girls) were rescued by the Libyan Coast Guard (Watch video), whose rescue operation lasted at least 12 hours.

Reuters spoke to survivors who say that about 50 people who had boarded the boats now are missing, while Libya’s Coast Guard stated in a press release it believes that number might be as high as 100.

According to survivors’ testimony, around 100 migrants remain missing. IOM, the UN Migration Agency, was present at their disembarkation point in Tripoli and provided food and water to all survivors.

IOM’s Christine Petré reported that the boats departed from near the Libyan coastal towns of Azzawiyah and Al Khums. The majority of the survivors came from African countries including The Gambia, Senegal, Sudan, Mali, and Nigeria. The Libyan Cost Guard reported that eight survivors are from Bangladesh (one woman) while two are from Pakistan.

“It’s very distressing that during the first 10 days of 2018 we have seen close to 800 migrants rescued or intercepted off the Libyan coast with more lives lost at sea,” said Othman Belbeisi, IOM Libya Chief of Mission. “More has to be done to reduce irregular unsafe movements of people along the Central Mediterranean route.”

IOM continues today to provide support and direct humanitarian assistance to the survivors of this latest tragedy, many of whom now are at Libya’s Tajoura detention centre.

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of International Organization for Migration (IOM).

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South Africa – Minister Muthambi to Meet Eastern Cape Community Development Workers

Minister for the Public Service and Administration, Ms. Faith Muthambi, will convene a provincial consultative engagement on the Community Development Workers Programme (CDWP), jointly with a briefing on the African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM) second generation review process, in the Eastern Cape Province.

The joint consultative engagement will take stock of the current state of the CDWP, how the programme could be strengthened to ensure improved service delivery, and will empower CDWs on their role in the APRM second generation review process, which will commence in the 2018/19 financial year.

The consultative engagement with Gauteng CDWs will be the fourth of the nine planned provincial consultations, following successful engagements that the Minister had with all the CDWs of Limpopo, Western Cape, and Gauteng provinces respectively. The provincial consultative engagements are part of a build-up, leading to the national conference of CDWs, which will be held this year.

Since the inception of the Community Development Workers Programme, the CDWs have been the conduits of information between Government and the citizens, and have contributed immensely in the speeding up of service delivery. Community Development Workers will also play an important role of engaging the communities and collecting relevant information during the upcoming APRM second generation review process.

The Minister, who will be joined by the leadership of the Eastern Cape Provincial Government, will engage all CDWs during an event which is scheduled as follows:

Date: Monday 15 January 2018
Venue: Premier Hotel Regent, East London (Buffalo City Metropolitan Municipality)
Time: 09:00

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of Republic of South Africa: Department of Government Communication and Information.

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U.S. and Egypt Hold Military Cooperation Committee Meeting

Assistant Secretary of Defense (ASD) for International Security Affairs Robert Karem joined Air Marshal Younis al Masri, Chief of the Egyptian Air Force, in cohosting the Military Cooperation Committee (MCC) meeting on January 8-9. The MCC, which meets annually, is the premier bilateral forum for planning and coordinating security cooperation strategy between the United States and Egypt. With this meeting, the two nations further strengthened the strategic partnership between our two militaries, and defined the priorities for facing mutual security challenges, such as the threat of terrorism and violent extremism.

In his opening remarks, ASD Karem highlighted that terrorism and its sponsors endanger regional stability and global security, and said the goal of the conference is “to strengthen our partnership, and to take our relationship to a new level to address these strategic challenges together.” ASD Karem also met with Minister of Defense Sedki Sobhy to discuss bilateral cooperation.

Major General Ralph Groover, the Senior Defense Official and Defense Attaché at the U.S. Embassy Cairo, said, “This week’s meeting is a clear demonstration of the enduring U.S. – Egyptian relationship. Together, we have forged a clear path for our security cooperation over the coming years, and I look forward to enhancing the military partnership with Egypt.”

ASD Karem’s delegation included representatives from the four branches of the armed services, the Defense Security Cooperation Agency, the Joint Staff, U.S. Central Command, as well as the Department of State. Over the course of the conference, the delegation and their Egyptian counterparts developed plans on how to best focus U.S. military assistance, in the form of resources, mutual training, and international exercises, on the foremost security threats. The delegations discussed how the next Bright Star joint military exercise could follow the success of Bright Star 2017 and further improve the ability of the two countries to operate together on the battlefield to defeat terrorist forces.

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of U.S. Embassy – Cairo.

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