Par­lia­ment gets its own

CityPress - - Front Page - ANDISIWE MAK­I­NANA andisiwe.mak­i­nana@city­press.co.za

In a rad­i­cal move to clamp down on chaos in the Na­tional Assem­bly, Par­lia­ment is en­list­ing a unit of po­lice ded­i­cated to re­mov­ing dis­rup­tive MPs. Cur­rently, the po­lice man par­lia­men­tary gates and en­trances to Par­lia­ment build­ings, but are not al­lowed on to the floor of the cham­ber.

Now, un­der the guise of par­lia­men­tary pro­tec­tion ser­vices, more than 20 po­lice of­fi­cials who still earn their salaries from the SA Po­lice Ser­vice, will be em­pow­ered to re­move dis­rup­tive MPs.

The Western Cape High Court ear­lier this year ruled po­lice should not be al­lowed to en­ter the cham­ber. Op­po­si­tion par­ties have crit­i­cised the de­ci­sion to de­ploy po­lice, say­ing it goes against the prin­ci­ple of sep­a­ra­tion of pow­ers.

As soon as June next year, young peo­ple could find them­selves forced to be­come part of a youth mil­i­tary pro­gramme as gov­ern­ment tries new ways to con­tain spi­ralling un­em­ploy­ment.

Over the past few weeks, the pres­i­dency’s na­tional steer­ing com­mit­tee has held marathon meet­ings amid pres­sure to fi­nalise de­tails of a youth ser­vice pro­gramme that could see gov­ern­ment send­ing young peo­ple, from the age of 18, to the army for mil­i­tary train­ing.

And the clock is tick­ing as the dead­line for the full roll out of the plan has been set for June next year.

The ANC-led al­liance has al­ready called for the ur­gent im­ple­men­ta­tion of an im­proved Na­tional Youth Ser­vices (NYS) pro­gramme in which the SA Na­tional De­fence Force (SANDF) and var­i­ous gov­ern­ment de­part­ments will play a role.

This ex­panded, mul­ti­sec­toral youth ser­vice is set to ben­e­fit mil­lions of young South Africans, most of whom are un­em­ployed.

How­ever, there have been dif­fer­ing views on whether it should be com­pul­sory for all young peo­ple to join the army as part of na­tional ser­vice re­quire­ments.

In a in­ter­view with City Press last month, ANC sec­re­tary-gen­eral Gwede Man­tashe said he would sup­port the rein­tro­duc­tion of con­scrip­tion, which was scrapped in South Africa in 1994.

“We moved away from con­scrip­tion too soon. Nat­u­rally, we would ac­tu­ally say that ev­ery youth per­son may serve an X num­ber of years or months in the army to be trained be­cause the army is the most equipped struc­ture that could deal with young peo­ple in a struc­tured way.

“Ac­tu­ally, the best en­gi­neer­ing ca­pac­ity in the coun­try is in the army. So that’s what we should be think­ing about,” he said.

How­ever, Dr Ber­nice Hla­gala, who is the di­rec­tor of youth de­vel­op­ment in the pres­i­dency, told City Press the draft frame­work had ruled out com­pul­sory mil­i­tary train­ing but it could still be changed. The draft has yet to be pre­sented to the deputy min­is­ter in the pres­i­dency, Buti Manamela. If he rub­ber stamps it, the youth mil­i­tary pro­gramme will then be tabled at Cab­i­net for a fi­nal de­ci­sion.

“The pri­mary aim of the NYS is not mil­i­tary. There are many as­pects to it, like en­cour­ag­ing youth to vol­un­teer at old-age homes or gov­ern­ment de­part­ments and ac­quire skills in the process.

“We will iden­tify exit op­por­tu­ni­ties but we can’t cre­ate the ex­pec­ta­tion that ev­ery­one will be ab­sorbed where they pro­vide ser­vices. But for those go­ing to the army, we are say­ing – in the draft – that it is vol­un­tary,” said Hla­gala.

Although rein­tro­duc­ing con­scrip­tion may go against the spirit of the Con­sti­tu­tion, Man­tashe said “the coun­try must do what it needs to do for the coun­try to work”.

Manamela es­tab­lished the na­tional steer­ing com­mit­tee to drive the process to­wards a bet­ter youth de­vel­op­ment pro­gramme, as one of the in­ter­ven­tions touted in the na­tional youth pol­icy 2020, which was re­cently adopted by Cab­i­net to deal with youth un­em­ploy­ment.

The ANC and its al­lies be­lieve mil­i­tary train­ing will tackle the so­cial alien­ation of youth, gang­ster­ism, al­co­hol and drug abuse – and in­stil dis­ci­pline, pa­tri­o­tism and vol­un­teerism.

Hla­gala said it was en­vis­aged that some par­tic­i­pants would emerge as pro­fes­sion­als in­clud­ing doc­tors, pilots and engi­neers, while oth­ers would take on tech­ni­cal and ar­ti­san jobs.

The depart­ment of ru­ral de­vel­op­ment has suc­cess­fully im­ple­mented its youth ser­vice plan, the Na­tional Ru­ral Youth Ser­vice Corps (Nary­sec), in part­ner­ship with the SANDF to train youth be­tween the ages of 18 and 35. Un­der the pro­gramme, army gen­er­als are tasked with whip­ping young peo­ple into shape be­fore they en­rol in Fur­ther Ed­u­ca­tion and Train­ing col­leges.

Hla­gala said the pro­posed NYS plan would give par­tic­i­pants, in­clud­ing those who have not com­pleted high school, the op­por­tu­nity to fur­ther their stud­ies, on con­di­tion that they give back to their com­mu­ni­ties. Hla­gala said fund­ing would be sourced from Na­tional Trea­sury once Cab­i­net ap­proval was ob­tained.

Mean­while, Gen­eral Fu­manek­ile Gqiba, head of the Nary­sec col­lege in Thaba Nchu in the Free State, told City Press that some of his pro­gramme’s ben­e­fi­cia­ries were now em­ployed or run­ning their own con­struc­tion busi­nesses. He said the only way to deal with so­cial ills and ill-dis­ci­pline among young peo­ple was to force them into the army – but not for com­bat train­ing.

He said con­scrip­tion was an on­go­ing dis­cus­sion “among com­rades”, but had not been taken fur­ther than that.


AT THE READY Se­cu­rity po­lice were de­ployed to en­sure that the open­ing of Par­lia­ment this year was not dis­rupted


DIS­CI­PLINED PA­TRI­OTS The ANC and its al­lies be­lieve mil­i­tary train­ing will tackle the so­cial alien­ation of youth, gang­ster­ism, al­co­hol and drug abuse – and in­stil dis­ci­pline and pa­tri­o­tism

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