Bisho, 13 July 2023: Today, members of the children’s parliament from various provinces arrived at the Eastern Cape Provincial Legislature, to prepare for the 11th sitting of the Nelson Mandela Children’s Parliament, scheduled for tomorrow, 14 July 2023.
The members participated in different commissions discussing violence against children, cyberbullying, teenage pregnancy, mental health, and their submissions to Pillar 7 of the NSP on GBVF as recommended by the Presidential summit on GBVF. Honourable member, Tebogo Chabalala (17) from Gauteng raised her concerns about cyber bullying and called for parents to avoid putting wrong content on social media platforms, especially, TikTok, as this may lead to cyberbullying. After urging government to empower parents about children's rights, honourable Chabalala, also emphasised that: “as children, we do have rights, but we should always remember that our rights come with responsibility."
In the commission on Comprehensive Sexuality Education and Teenage Pregnancy, Motshidisi Maake (18) from Gauteng, said the Constitution makes provision for the right to education, and “some schools do not allow learners to come to school while pregnant and this is a violation of children’s rights.”
Honourable member Nontsikelelo Makhiwane (18) from the Eastern Cape, cautioned that teachers can sometimes worsen children's challenges when they discriminate against those who fall pregnant. She also mentioned that children’s rights to privacy are often overlooked by parents and community members who would judge them for collecting their Anti-Retrovirals (ARV) at local health facilities forgetting that some children were born HIV positive.
According to the honourable members, peer pressure and sexual abuse by teachers, cyber bullying is also another societal problem which must be addressed by children in conjunction with government. They also encouraged communities to play their part of promoting children’s rights and stop discriminating againt children who have ancestral calling.
The eleventh Children’s Parliament, which is part of celebrating the life and times of President Nelson Mandela is held by the Department of Social Development in collaboration with development partners like Save the Children South Africa, UNICEF, and the Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund.
This platform has been created to afford children the space to freely express their views as stipulated in the Children’s Act, the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child and the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child.
The children’s parliament will be held under the theme: “Maximising the Voices of Children in addressing social ills affecting them”. The children will elect their new President and the Speaker of the children’s parliament. The Minister of social development, Ms Lindiwe Zulu, will reply to the issues raised by the children.
Members of the media are invited to attend and cover Children’s Parliament proceedings planned as follows:
Date: Friday, 14 July 2023
Physical Venue: Independence Avenue, Eastern Cape Provincial Legislature, Bisho
ISSUED BY THE NATIONAL DEPARTMENT OF SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT