Laws Must Move with the Times
Nyanga was the setting for a workshop at the Etafeni Day Care Centre, to prepare for the National Council of Provinces (NCOP)’s Children’s Seminar, at the end of May.
The workshop took place under the motherly eye of NCOP Deputy Chairperson, Ms Thandi Memela, who began her own political life at the tender age of 13 years.
“Times change, these laws are not a ‘one-size-fits-all’, we need to make sure that our laws are improved to fit in with societal changes,” said Ms Memela.
“We want to hear from the children themselves, what do they think about their rights? From that, we hope to learn whether there is a need to amend some of our existing laws and polices on children’s rights,” Ms Memela said.
The quality of input showed that it was a good idea to first hold a series of preparatory workshops around the country. During an interaction with the children Ms Memela said she was amazed how much those as young as six-years old knew about the different forms of abuse, and what to do in case they experienced abuse.
“It is clear that these children are aware of their rights and they know the different forms of abuse. Our task is to continue promoting and protecting the rights of the children through tightening laws and policies,” she said.
The workshop at Nyanga was one of many to prepare for the Children’s Seminar, which will be part of the celebration of 15 years of the NCOP. A central plank of the 15th anniversary will be the rights of children and keeping up with the times. Selected children from all nine provinces, Members of Parliament, Provincial legislatures and non-government organisations (NGOs) will be invited to the seminar, themed “Investing in Children”.
by SAKHILE MOKOENA