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Speech By T Tobias In The National Assembly On The Restriction Of Certain Conventional Weapons Bill

Honourable Madam Acting Speaker
Honourable Members

The passing of the Prohibition or known as The Restriction of Certain Conventional Weapons Bill known as CCW by Parliament today confirms that South Africa as a State party adheres to international humanitarian laws and it also confirms that the African National Congress is indeed an organisation with International outlook.

In the same vain the agenda of our government to have a peaceful country, continent and the world is slowly coming into being and South Africa is a force to reckon with as a progressive pacesetter by being an example in taking decisions that other countries especially the G77 Countries are hesitant to take therefore we hereby salute our country for its bravety and consistency in maintaining world peace and stability.

Honourable members today we are legislating on a Convention which came into being in 1980 and South Africa through a Democratic ANC led government, became a State Party in 1995, the CCW seeks "to limit the effects of Armed Conflict on both combatants and non combatants."

Therefore legislating today will give full effect to the Convention as per the requirements of Article 14 of Protocol II.

Madam Speaker, the Portfolio Committee undergone a trying time during the discussion of this bill, the Committee had to consider R and D (research and development) that the country acquired overtime, we also had to consider the views of SADRI (South African Defence Related Industries) and all stakeholders in general and maturely looked at the impact of this piece of legislation on this industries.

The Committee also did an extensive research to check how many State Parties that are signatories has legislated on this Convention and we discovered Madam Acting Speaker, that South Africa was the first to legislate and the majority of the G77 countries has made both reservations and declarations to empower their defence industries to remain in the economic mainstream.

Countries of the north continue to participate in activities that seeks to undermine world peace and examples are that of the role of America in Iraq, Saddam Hussein is no more but we are still looking forward for the discovery of weapons of mass destructions because all we are observing in the current juncture is the flexing of muscles and displayal of the American fleet of defence materiêl on the Iraqian soil and in my view Madam Acting Speaker, this suggests that America is avoiding to participate in exercises with other countries in case they learn their defence strategies and rather engage in violence and bullying of the weaker nations who doesn\'t tow the American line in the United Security Council. If I may ask Honourable Acting Speaker at which point are we as nations of the world going to respect countries sovereignty? What lessons have we learned from the cold war? Israel for instance used Cluster Bombs with Phosphorus on Palestinian civilians who were not necessarily a military objective and was against rules of engagement in any war civilian vicinities one respected especially in the usage of cluster munitions and explosive ordnances.

Madam Speaker much as we want to protection civilians and civilian object from grievous bodily harm, military personnel and objects should be protected and our soldiers who are deployed in the Comoros, Darfur, in Sudan, DRC and elsewhere in Peacekeeping missions should be protected as they are raising the peace flag and helping the destitute.

Madame Speaker we also welcome the deployment of the NATO warship to participate in exercise Amazolo with the South African Navy to maintain peace in the African waters this shows that nations of the world are indeed committed to world peace.

Madam Acting Speaker I also want to take this opportunity to thank my colleagues in the Defence Portfolio Committee for displaying maturity and unity when dealing with legislation of this nature, this is a collective with national responsibility to deal with security matters. And special thanks to those members who sacrificed other responsibilities and sat in all meetings that careful crafted this piece of legislation and also those officials who provided legal advice.

The ANC supports the Bill

I thank you