“School Club takes over provincial parliament for a day”

Western Cape Africa Unite School Club attends legislative workshop on Freedom Day.

On the 27th of April 2019 the Africa Unite School Clubs, Portland’s High School, DR Nelson Mandela High School, Heideveld High School, Rosendaal Secondary School, Masibambane High School, and Hector Peterson High School, went to the Western Cape Provincial Parliament (WCPP) to attend a workshop on how the  provincial parliament is structured and runs.

The purpose of this workshop was to empower the learners through a greater understanding of the parliament as it relates to their civil right to political representation This can lead to a deeper understanding of how they can hold their parliamentarians accountable. Many learners do not even have knowledge of the existence of the Western Cape provincial parliament much less an understanding of the purpose of the parliament and who and what it represents. This in turn can lead to a School Club cabinet member not having the full awareness of their own purpose in its entirety and their potential within their respective roles.

This workshop will lead to them being aware of the full potential of their portfolios and in turn give them the tools with which they can work to become agents of change in their schools and community. Fortunately the were 56 learners from 6 schools who were able to attend and only Ashton was unable to make it on account of both the distance of the school and the time of the parliamentary visit. However, the schools  still have time to teach the Ashton cabinet, and they also sent a booklet to Ashton.

Firstly, the learners, who are the cabinet members at their respective schools, went to the Western Cape Provincial Parliament (WCPP) to gain knowledge about the chamber of the Western Cape and their seating arrangement. To this end the learners were able to sit in the chamber themselves while they were taught about what the cabinet members and ministers do and how they choose their premier for the Western Cape. They were also taught the different symbols in the parliament and what they stand for.

The learners were taught about this beautiful country’s three pillars of government, namely the executive, legislature and the judiciary branches. The Executive is the branch of the government that represents the presidents and the cabinet; the Legislature consists of the different houses such as the parliament and they are responsible for the passing of laws and electing the president as well as monitoring that the Executive fulfils its duties towards the people; and lastly, the Judiciary consists of the courts and the high judges.

Representatives from the respective school prepare to be facilitators for the session.

Furthermore, We had the pleasure of learning about how South Africa is amongst a minority of countries that does not have a single capital city. Instead, South Africa boasts three capital cities, one for each branch of government. Pretoria is the administrative capital of South Africa. Cape Town is the legislative capital. And Bloemfontein is the judicial capital. Additionally, the learners had the privilege of learning how a law is passed in the provincial parliament. This particular lesson was made all the more effective through an activity which allowed them to draft their own laws to send to the government.

The learners received a large amount of information that they can use to enact change in their communities and their schools, as per the objective of this workshop. The enthusiasm and the energy from the learners was tangible. They asked the facilitator hot and heated questions about the parliament especially questions such as “Many people in disadvantaged communities in the Western Cape don’t even know such a parliament exist, what is the plan the Western Cape government has in place to make sure the people know about the parliament?”. This question was so relevant to the extent that even at their schools the learners do not know what the provincial parliament does.

With this knowledge the learners vowed to use this information to strengthen their own school club as the roles of each cabinet member was explained a bit more in depth. The School Club will also use this information to empower the learners at their respective schools; they now know the proper channels to send out complaints about their communities, and this they can use to empower their own community.

New School Club Hector Peterson take the procedural positions in parliament.

As Africa Unite, we would like to thank the provincial parliament for including our school clubs in their legislative education program. The information received was highly beneficial.

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