During the current constituency period, the Speaker of the National Assembly (NA), Ms Noviwe Mapisa-Nqakula, is visiting her constituency in Makhanda where she will be issuing certificates of appreciation to learners from 11 Makhanda schools who participated in her week-long Back-to-School programme, which took place in Makhanda in April this year.

The Makhanda Parliamentary Constituency Office field worker and office manager, Mr Siyanda Jam, said 15 learners from each school participated in the April programme. The schools were a mixture of historically advantaged and disadvantaged schools, with learners drawn from mainstream, combined and a special school. The 11 schools are Hendrik Kanise Combined School, Mary Waters Secondary School, Nathaniel Nyaluza High School, Tem Mrwetyana Secondary School, Nombulelo Secondary School, Kutuso Daniel Secondary School, Ntsika Secondary School, Graeme College, Victoria Girls High School and Kuyasa Special School.

Mr Jam said the Back-to-School programme created a platform for learners to talk about their challenges and what they need in the presence of stakeholders from the Department of Basic Education. These stakeholders included the National Student Financial Aid Scheme, the South African Police Service, the Sarah Baartman District Municipality, the Nelson Mandela Foundation and the Eastern Cape Provincial Government’s Department of Social Development.

According to Mr Jam, two representatives from each of the 11 schools highlighted the problems their schools experience. Students told Ms Mapisa-Nqakula that they often arrive at school in the morning hungry and the food provided by government through the scholar feeding scheme does not reach them. 

At the opening of the April Back-to-School constituency programme, the Secretary to the NA, Mr Masibulele Xaso, explained the role and significance of Parliamentary Constituency Offices (PCOs), saying they are a strategic interface between the people and Parliament. He encouraged the school pupils to share their views with the PCOs on anything falling under Parliament’s constitutional mandate.

Mr Jam said issuing the certificates of appreciation during this week’s constituency programme promotes the constituency office’s objective of fostering a spirit of commitment among the Grade 12 learners of 2022 and beyond to achieve their best.

Mava Lukani

22 June 2022