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Regional parliament as quasi-governing body to feature on SADC Summit agenda

Regional parliament as quasi-governing body to feature on SADC Summit agenda

From the Southern African Research and Documentation Centre (SARDC)

The proposed transformation of the SADC Parliamentary Forum into a regional parliament is expected to be one of the issues for discussion by the 39th SADC Summit scheduled for Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, in August.

This follows high-level support by leaders at the previous summit in August 2018 to establish a regional parliament as an integral institution to drive forward the regional integration agenda.

The SADC Council of Ministers, which met in Windhoek in March this year, created a task force to undertake an analysis of the structure, functions and the governing legal framework of the proposed regional parliament and to present its findings for consideration when the Council meets again in Dar es Salaam in August.

The task force comprises members of the Double Troika supported by officials from the Secretariat and the SADC Parliamentary Forum.

The proposed establishment of the SADC Regional Parliament will provide a representative institution for the SADC citizenry, thereby serving as a valid interlocutor for the needs and desires of the general public.

The Executive is already the main driver of regional integration through intergovernmental institutions at senior officials, ministerial or heads of state and governmental levels.

The Judiciary was represented through the now suspended but soon to be reconstituted SADC Tribunal whose primary role is expected to be that of ensuring compliance and resolution of disputes related to the interpretation and application of the SADC Treaty and subsidiary legal instruments.

A missing link would, therefore, be that of the Legislature whose central role would be to spearhead the domestication of regional policy and legal obligations outlined in the SADC Treaty and various sectoral protocols.

The newly elected Parliamentary Forum leadership, meeting for their 44th Session of the Plenary Assembly in Maputo, Mozambique in July, agreed that transformation into a regional parliament remains a top priority.

Forum President, Veronica Macamo Dlhovo, who is the Speaker of the Mozambican National Assembly said the forum will soon convene an urgent meeting to discuss how the transsitioning into a regional parliament would become a reality.

Transformation of the Forum into a regional parliament has been on the table since 2004 but the process and plans were not clearly defined until last year.

The forum is an autonomous institution of SADC established in 1997 as a regional inter-parliamentary body made up of 14 national parliaments, representing over 3500 parliamentarians in southern Africa.

The member parliaments are Angola, Botswana, Democratic Republic of Congo, Eswatini, Lesotho, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Seychelles, South Africa, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

However, the forum has not been able to fully contribute to policy making on regional integration because its formal role on SADC matters has not been fully recognized, nor does its work directly feed into the agenda of the intergovernmental body.

This has seen the national parliaments embarking on a process over the years to forge a working relationship with the SADC Secretariat to create space for parliamentarians to participate more formally in regional integration processes.

In this regard, its transformation into a regional parliament will help to bridge the gap between citizens of southern Africa and regional integration processes.

The transformation of the parliament will be premised on an agreement on a number of issues, which include that the parliament will not impede on the sovereignty of member states, and that it will only have an advisory function.

In terms of financial implications of the establishment of a regional parliament, this should not result in any increased costs for national budgets at the outset because the central financing will be based on the current arrangement where member parliaments make equal contributions annually.

Another proposal is that the current secretariat of the Forum will continue to provide secretariat services to the regional parliament, with its headquarters remaining in Windhoek.

It is further proposed that the regional parliament would hold rotating sessions in the member states. This is already happening where plenary assemblies of the Forum are hosted by member parliaments.

Southern African News Features are produced by the Southern African Research and Documentation Centre (SARDC), which has monitored regional developments since 1985. Website and Virtual Library for Southern Africa at


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Following reverse listing, public can now acquire shareholding in Paratus Namibia


20 February 2020, Windhoek, Namibia: Paratus Namibia Holdings (PNH) was founded as Nimbus Infrastructure Limited (“Nimbus”), Namibia’s first Capital Pool Company listed on the Namibian Stock Exchange (“NSX”).

Although targeting an initial capital raising of N$300 million, Nimbus nonetheless managed to secure funding to the value of N$98 million through its CPC listing. With a mandate to invest in ICT infrastructure in sub-Sahara Africa, it concluded management agreements with financial partner Cirrus and technology partner, Paratus Telecommunications (Pty) Ltd (“Paratus Namibia”).

Paratus Namibia Managing Director, Andrew Hall

Its first investment was placed in Paratus Namibia, a fully licensed communications operator in Namibia under regulation of the Communications Regulatory Authority of Namibia (CRAN). Nimbus has since been able to increase its capital asset base to close to N$500 million over the past two years.

In order to streamline further investment and to avoid duplicating potential ICT projects in the market between Nimbus and Paratus Namibia, it was decided to consolidate the operations.

Publishing various circulars to shareholders, Nimbus took up a 100% shareholding stake in Paratus Namibia in 2019 and proceeded to apply to have its name changed to Paratus Namibia Holdings with a consolidated board structure to ensure streamlined operations between the capital holdings and the operational arm of the business.

This transaction was approved by the Competitions Commission as well as CRAN, following all the relevant regulatory approvals as well as the necessary requirements in terms of corporate governance structures.

Paratus Namibia has evolved as a fully comprehensive communications operator in Namibia and operates as the head office of the Paratus Group in Africa. Paratus has established a pan-African footprint with operations in six African countries, being: Angola, Botswana, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa and Zambia.

The group has achieved many successes over the years of which more recently includes the building of the Trans-Kalahari Fibre (TKF) project, which connects from the West Africa Cable System (WACS) eastward through Namibia to Botswana and onward to Johannesburg. The TKF also extends northward through Zambia to connect to Dar es Salaam in Tanzania, which made Paratus the first operator to connect the west and east coast of Africa under one Autonomous System Number (ASN).

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PNH as a fully-listed entity on the NSX, is therefore now the 100% shareholder of Paratus Namibia thereby becoming a public company. PNH is ready to invest in the future of the ICT environment in Namibia. The public is therefore invited and welcome to acquire shares in Paratus Namibia Holdings by speaking to a local stockbroker registered with the NSX. The future is bright, and the opportunities are endless.