SOTU

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EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

Since the establishment of the Organisation for African Unity (OAU) in 1963 and its
successor, the African Union (AU), in July 2001, various instruments have been passed to
guide the conduct of African states towards citizens and accelerate the process of African
integration. These instruments cover a wide spectrum of policy areas from peace and
security through social and human development to economic development issues.
However, despite their existence, adoption and implementation across the continent
remains inconsistent.

The State of the Union (SOTU) is a coalition of civil society organisations working in ten
African countries to urge their governments to ratify African Union instruments and track
their implementation at national level. The SOTU initiative was conceived as a strategy to
strengthen the decision of the AU taken at the 13th Ordinary Session of AU Summit held in
2009 to ratify and accede to all OAU and AU treaties by July 2010. SOTU conducts biannual
research to review country compliance and the status of implementation of
selected AU instruments. The first SOTU compliance reports were published in July 2010
and were well received by the African Union Commission (AUC), member states and other
stakeholders.

As a member of the SOTU coalition, the Southern Africa Trust has commissioned this
study to determine South Africa’s level of compliance with, and implementation of, key
commitments in 16 selected AU protocols, conventions and declarations, and the impact
of their implementation on citizens’ quality of life. The study seeks to establish the status
of ratification, domestication and implementation of these AU instruments at country level
between 2010 and 2012. The report emphasises the main areas of progress or weakness
and makes recommendations to improve compliance.
Overall, the report found that South Africa has an outstanding record in the ratification of
African Union treaties and instruments, and that its national legislation and policies are
recognised internationally for entrenching human rights values. South Africa has also
contributed positively to the development of Africa’s legal architecture through the
adoption of the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) and its monitoring
system, the African Peer Review Mechanism. The report reflects, however, that
domestication of AU treaties into South Africa’s national body of law is lacking in some
areas.
Furthermore, where instruments have been domesticated, there is often a gap between
policy and practical implementation, especially in the areas of health, education, water
and sanitation. The report also notes that South Africa has been irregular in meeting its
periodic reporting obligations on three instruments: the African Charter on Human and
Peoples’ Rights, the Protocol on the Rights of Women in Africa, and the African Charter on
the Rights and Welfare of the Child.

The instruments reviewed by this study have been grouped under several headings,
which relate to human rights and governance, agriculture and conservation of nature and
natural resources, health, women, children and youth. The following observations reflect
the key findings and recommendations of the report in each of these areas.

For Full Report:

SOTU South Africa Report 26 June 2013

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