Bisho, 14 July 2023: The Nelson Mandela Children’s Parliament has a new Speaker and President. In a tough voting session where sometimes there was a tie, the members finally voted 16-year-old Khazimla Adam, from the Eastern Cape Province, as their new Speaker. A grade 11 learner from Woodridge College, honourable Adam got to the business of the day and led the robust parliament with confidence.
Honourable Unathi Ncinithwa (16) from the Free State was elected deputy speaker and honourable Dikgang Morudu (16) was elected as the new President with Kearabetswe Peter Khoase (16) from the Free State as Deputy President.
It was clear from the onset that the members of the children’s parliament took the wise words of Eastern Cape deputy speaker Honourable Mlibo Qoboshiyane that remaining sober was the greatest gift to themselves and they called for the banning of alcohol advertising. Honourable Nkosi Thembela (14) from Mpumalanga Province started by acknowledging that parents needed to be exemplary and very careful about drinking in the presence of children. He moved to submit that most children had access to media and that the amount of alcohol advertising should be given a closer look. “As children, we would like to see government limiting how alcohol is advertised, by putting more programmes in place to monitor alcohol advertisement,” said honourable Thembela.
Members of children’s parliament also appealed with government to look into the accessibility of alcohol in their communities, especially black communities, and urged that the age of alcohol sale should be increased.
Some of the issues that concerned the members was the high number of children who are committing suicide.
The members were still at pains about the non-attendance of different Ministers even though they raised this in their last sitting in 2021. They were grateful that the Minister of Social Development, Ms Lindiwe Zulu, honours their sitting. They took a resolution that their new President should write to President Cyril Ramaphosa and raise this concern and that Minister Zulu should deliver their correspondence.
Minister Zulu said: “we have heard your concern regarding and adverts that glamorise alcohol especially during prime time!” She said just like she delivered the Children’s Manifesto, she is willing to take their correspondence to President Ramaphosa.
Held under the theme: “Maximising the voices of children in addressing social ills affecting them;”
Nelson Mandela Children’s Parliament seeks is to ensure that children are given an opportunity to speak out freely pertaining issues affecting them. The Parliament is held in conjunction with the department of basic education and development partners such as the Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund, Save the Children South Africa and UNICEF.
The newly elected Child Ambassadors who will be representing children in different provinces are hounarables: Rebecca Smith (17), Isabella Dawood (17) Chareez James (16), Kearabetswe Khoase (16), Unathi Lucas (17), Kgomotso Meje (15), Dikgang Morudu (17)and Sovuzwa Simanga (16). They will serve until 2025 when the new executive is elected.
ISSUED BY THE NATIONAL DEPARTMENT OF SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT