Parliament speaker slates travel bans on SA at Brics forum

National Assembly speaker Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula was scathing over travel restrictions imposed on SA and other African countries after the discovery of a new Covid-19 variant this week.
NEW ROLE: National Assembly speaker Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula was scathing over travel restrictions imposed on SA and other African countries after the discovery of a new Covid-19 variant this week.
Image: Gallo Images / Rapport / Deaan Vivier

National Assembly speaker Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula lashed out on Saturday night against travel restrictions imposed on SA and other African countries after the discovery of a new Covid-19 variant this week. 

Mapisa-Nqakula was speaking at the 7th Brics Parliamentary Forum which was held on the sidelines of the 143rd Assembly of the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) in Madrid, Spain.

The Omicron variant identification has created panic around the world, resulting in inbound and outbound travel bans.

Mapisa-Nqakula said Covid-19 was entrenching stereotypes in ways that could never have been imagined.

Travel restrictions, which were not informed by science, were essentially a punishment for world class science and responsible global citizenship as well as transparency and openness, she said.  

She told the forum that, as a responsible global citizen, the country was duty-bound to report any new variants of concern to the international community, which has been done without fail due to the country’s world-class expertise and monitoring.

Deputy chairperson of the National Council of Provinces Sylvia Lucas also spoke at the forum.

She stressed that African women in particular continued to be disproportionately affected by the economic crisis created by the Covid-19 pandemic, which included poverty, unemployment and economic exclusion.

“Women’s quality of life has depreciated as this pandemic threatens to reverse some of the important advances and gains that we have made as women,” she said.  

In his input to the same session, EFF chief whip Floyd Shivambu cautioned against the agenda of “certain nations” to undermine the unity of Brics nations.  

Mapisa-Nqakula was also accompanied to the meeting by house chairperson for international relations Madala Ntombela and ANC parliamentarian Judith Tshabalala.  

On Sunday SA Medical Association chair Dr Angelique Coetzee said the Omicron variant had not shown severe symptoms. 

The Brics Parliamentary Forum is constituted by the parliaments of Brazil, Russia, India, China and SA.  

It was founded, among other things, to strengthen and promote contacts at the leadership level of chambers, committees and groups of parliamentarians; perform inter-parliamentary exchanges and hold regular expert consultations; and create and develop new inter-parliamentary co-operation mechanisms. 

TimesLIVE


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