Wednesday, March 10, 2010

By Khumbulani Maphosa (Information and Publicity Officer)

Participants at the Habakkuk Trust sector meeting for Youths and Children have underscored the need for the National Youth Service not to be constitutionalised so as to protect it from being politically usurped.

Speaking during the proceedings of the sector think tank meeting on the 25th February 2010, most participants who included youths, students and representatives of youth organisations said ‘the national youth service should not be a political issue but a national agenda with the interests of the youths and the nation’.
They further demanded that the Youths Service should be a platform for job creation and an area for skills training. It was thus resolved that the National Youth Service should not be put in the constitution but should be looked at as a strategy for Youth Empowerment and Development.

Other issues that were raised included the recognition of the rights of children of offenders especially when they are with their parents in prison.
Mrs Mlala from Childline further probed the new constitution to consider the rights of children who are in conflict with the law. She was concerned that child offenders are sometimes publicly humiliated which violates their rights as children.

Other key issues that were debated included the need for the legal age of majority to be raised from 18 years to 21 years, the democratization of the Junior Council and enshrining Education as a right for every child.

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