South Africa Welcomes Youthful Faces to Parliament: A New Era in Political Representation

South Africa Welcomes Youthful Faces to Parliament: A New Era in Political Representation

  • In a groundbreaking move for South African politics, various parties are responding to the call to bring young people into Parliament
  • While this generational shift has been praised for fostering youth leadership, some critics argue that the appointees might lack the necessary experience.
  • This follows ActionSA’s similar initiative, indicating a trend towards youth inclusion in governance and the Patriotic Alliance

Reitumetse Makwea, a Briefly News current affairs journalist in Pretoria, South Africa, has covered local elections, policy changes, the State of the Nation Address and political news at The Citizen and Rekord Noweto for over five years.

PA and ActionSA bring young people to parliament
Various parties are heeding SA's call to bring young people into Parliament. Images: @KobeMalebo and @GaytonMcK
Source: Twitter

Various parties are responding to SA's call to bring young people into Parliament in a groundbreaking move for South African politics.

First, it was Action SA sending 32-year-old Malebo Kobe, and now, it's the Patriotic Alliance.

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Many South Africans are happy to see fresh faces; however, some are not thrilled.

Patriotic Alliance (PA) takes bold steps

The PA has appointed two young representatives to Parliament. Party leader Gayton McKenzie proudly champions the cause, appointing 22-year-old Jasmine Petersen and 20-year-old Cleo Wilskut.

The two will serve as Members of Parliament (MPs) for five years.

This announcement follows ActionSA’s similar initiative, signalling a trend towards youth inclusion in South African governance.

A generational shift in politics

In a report by TimesLIVE, McKenzie’s enthusiasm for this youth-focused strategy is evident. He wants to ensure that his past mistakes do not become the future for today's youth.

See the post on X below:

Drawing from his turbulent youth, he highlights the contrast between his past and the opportunities now available to the younger generation.

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"I went to jail at age 20; they are going into Parliament at age 20. We are breaking generational curses in our race, I am going into politics to make sure that my past doesn’t become the future of our youth."

South Africans have had a lot to say

The appointments have sparked a range of reactions from the public.

Fidelis Emeka Nwankwo praised McKenzie for his faith in youth leadership, highlighting that many of today's seasoned politicians began practising activism young:

"Let these ones be nurtured and groomed into political heavyweights for a better tomorrow."

Jumath Hop echoed this sentiment, commending the PA for putting their youth development programmes to the test.

"They make our youth great. There is hope for the youth of South Africa."

States Louw sees this as a strategic and inspirational move, signalling to the younger generation that there are viable opportunities for them in the political arena.

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"This is just to show the youth generation that there is an opportunity to think better for us, them, and the whole world."

However, not all feedback has been positive. Some critics argue that the appointees' youth might work against them in Parliament's politically charged environment.

Enos Maibana said:

"Too young for me. At least 30-40."

Similarly, Mhlengi Mpungose and Zakes Dlamini suggested that 30 might be a more appropriate minimum age for parliamentary representatives, citing the need for a certain level of education and societal engagement.

Born Frees make a statement by taking to the polls

Briefly News reported that South Africa's youth participated in the 2024 General Election, one of the most critical elections in SA history.

Young people from across the country shared their experiences and what it meant to them. Some young people were unsatisfied with the government and saw no hope for its future.

Source: Briefly News

Reitumetse Makwea avatar

Reitumetse Makwea (Editor) Reitumetse Makwea is a Current Affairs journalist at Briefly News. She has a National diploma, Advanced diploma and Post-graduate diploma in Journalism from the Tshwane University of Technology. She first worked as a student journalist and freelancer for Caxton's Record Noweto and later joined The Citizen News, where she worked for a little over 3 years covering politics, environmental news, business, education, and health. Reitumetse joined Briefly News in 2024. Email: