Regional integration and pacta sunt servanda: reflections on South African trans-border higher education policies
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The underpinning essence of being part of a regional organisation such as the Southern African Development Community (SADC) is to achieve development through integration. Regional integration thus becomes the bedrock from which the treaties governing SADC and its member states are to be interpreted. The SADC Treaty and its various protocols articulate that members should eliminate obstacles to the free movement of people, goods and services. This should include the progressive reduction of immigration formalities in order to facilitate the freer movement of students and staff for the specific purposes of study, teaching, research and any other pursuits relating to education and training. Relying on international law principles such as pacta sunt servanda, this article establishes that though South Africa has made much progress in meeting most of the SADC obligations relating to migration and education, there are still grey policy areas that fall short of SADC standards and regional commitments. It also appraises the role of the SADC Council of Ministers, the Parliamentary Forum, the Tribunal and the National Committees in addressing these areas.