By JOY HINYIKIWILE
Over 150 local learners from all of Makhanda’s public high schools will discuss the challenges facing young people with parliamentary leaders at the launch of the Makhanda Parliamentary Constituency Office (PCO) next week.
National Assembly Speaker Novisiwe Mapisa-Nqakula will lead a high-powered delegation – including representatives of about 50 state and civil society agencies that play a role in child and youth development – for a two-day learner-targeted outreach programme.
The Speaker’s office released a statement on Wednesday to confirm the visit, which will take place on 11 and 12 April.
The speaker plans to use the outreach programme to launch a Makhanda Parliamentary Constituency Office (PCO) aimed at promoting public access to and increasing participation in parliamentary processes and participatory democracy in the country.
Mapisa-Nqakula decided that the outreach programme should engage and empower young people through “inter-generational dialogue”, the statement said.
The programme will celebrate the significant improvements in the 2021 matric pass rates in Makhanda and the wider Eastern Cape and address challenges that inhibit youths’ realisation of their full potential in the area.
These challenges include the spread of HIV and AIDS, gender-based violence and femicide, bullying in schools, toxic masculinity, drug abuse and teenage pregnancies.
An exhibition will be mounted offering inspirational information and opportunities for youth development and growth. Lined up to anchor the exhibition with Parliament are Rhodes University, UNICEF, the Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund, and the Health and Education Departments.
Leaders of Parliament will engage young people in plenary sessions and challenges facing young people will be discussed in four break-away dialogue sessions branded as the festival of ideas and solutions for learner and youth development.
The programme features a who’s who of the South African legislative sector and government. These include the Presiding Officers of Parliament – Speaker Mapisa-Nqakula and NCOP Chairperson Amos Masondo, Deputy Speaker Lechesa Tsenoli and Deputy Chairperson Sylvia Lucas, Eastern Cape Legislature Speaker Helen Sauls-August and Deputy Speaker Mlibo Qhoboshiyane, Deputy Sports Arts and Culture Minister Nocawe Mafu, Eastern Cape Education MEC Fundile Gade, Higher Education Science and Technology Portfolio Committee Chairperson Nompendulo Mkhatshwa, Sarah Baartman District Municipality Speaker Nomhle Gaga, Makhanda Mayor Yandiswa Vara, and Speaker Mthuthuzeli Matyumza.
Parliament plans to roll out similar programmes to re-engineer the PCO and engage young people in all nine provinces.
DETAILS OF THE TWO-DAY PROGRAMME:
Date: Monday, 11 April – Tuesday, 12 April 2022
Time: 8.30 am – 3 pm
Venue: 1820 Settlers Monument
Date: 11 April
Time: 3 pm
Venue: Makhanda Parliamentary Constituency Office
STAKEHOLDER ENGAGEMENT SESSION
Date: 12 April
Time: 3 pm to 5 pm
Venue: City Hall
Members of the public may follow the proceedings live on Parliament TV (DSTV Channel 408) via the live stream on Parliament’s YouTube channel, Facebook and Twitter pages.
You may subscribe to the Parliament YouTube channel to receive instant notification of live feeds.