Gauteng learners enlightened on Constitution

Mandisi Hlatshwayo

In true celebration of the Youth Month, the department hosted a dialogue with learners from schools around Gauteng, engaging them on the importance of the Constitution. The dialogue, led by Deputy Minister John Jeffery, took place at the Nasrec Expo Centre, Johannesburg, on 13 June, under the theme: “Youth Moving South Africa forward”.

Addressing learners, the deputy minister highlighted the importance of reading and understanding the Constitution so that youth is enlightened and able to make informed decisions.

“This session is important as it will help young people to have a better understanding of their rights, and to take into account that every right comes with a responsibility,” said Deputy Minister Jeffery.

He urged youth to be “agents of change” in taking further the message to their peers so that they participate in democracy and continue to make South African a proud nation.

This is an important year in the South African history as the country celebrates 20th anniversary of the Constitution, 40th anniversary of the June 16, and the 60th commemoration of the Women’s March against past laws which took place in August 1956.

The event also served as a platform to allow the youth and learners to interact with various government departments and learn more on innovative programmes geared towards youth empowerment.

Commissioner Mohamed Ameermia of the South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) welcomed the departmental initiative, adding that it plays a vital role in fostering human rights education. “This is to celebrate achievements of our youth and to appeal to them to be at the forefront of important conversations that will help bring solutions to the triple challenges of poverty, inequality and unemployment,” he said.

Mr Simon Molefe from the Gauteng Department of Education encouraged the learners to play their role in upholding and protecting the Constitution. “A lot of sacrifices were made to ensure this Constitution comes into existence and for us to be free, it is now our duty to ensure that it is recognised,” he said.

The learners got an opportunity to interact with the panelists, raising question around the Bill of Rights and how to adequately exercise their rights and responsibilities.

Accompanying the Deputy Minister was the Chief Executive Officer of Proudly South Africa, Mr Leslie Sedibe, a speaker from the Class of 1976, Ms Baby Tyawa and Mr Mfuneko Baai, a political science student at Unisa who all shared their views on the importance of the Constitution.

The learners also got the chance to visit the department’s exhibition stall to find out more about justice and its offerings.

Text as at Tuesday, 14 June, 2016