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Young cancer fighter gets VIP treatment in Parliament

Western Cape
Cape Town - Cancer-fighting hero, Junaid Arendse, rubbed shoulders with the country’s top politicians on Thursday when he went to Parliament.

Junaid, 7, from Mitchells Plain, visited Parliament as the special guest of Human Settlements Minister Lindiwe Sisulu, who was tabling her department’s budget speech.

Junaid got the VIP treatment, and was chauffeur-driven from their Portlands home to the National Assembly in the city centre.

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Dressed in a brand-new black suit, white shirt, a smart black tie and sneakers; Junaid was dressed to the nines for his big day in Parliament, where Sisulu gave him a special welcome when she made her speech.

His grandfather Leonard Arendse, 55, said that Junaid was overwhelmed with excitement at seeing Sisulu again and going to Parliament.

“He could barely sleep because he was so excited,” said Arendse.

“The minister bought him a suit the day before the budget speech.

“His aunt accompanied him to Parliament where he was welcomed in the minister’s speech.”


Thursday was also the birthday of the minister’s late father, anti-apartheid icon Walter Sisulu.

Sisulu read out her 15-page speech, in which she also paid tribute to Junaid and his brave fight against stage four neuroblastoma - a cancerous tumour that begins in the nerve cells of young children.

His only hope is topotecan, an expensive treatment not available in state hospitals.

“We have with us here today a young, outstanding, very special and brave seven-year-old boy, fighting against cancer for the past four years of his little life, a beautiful soul called Junaid,” Sisulu said.

“He is a special guest of mine and has become a passion as I join millions of others affected by the effects of this dreaded cancer.”

The minister lost her husband, Professor Rok Ajulu, to complications linked to pancreatic cancer on December 26 last year.

Arendse said: “He is doing well at the moment, although his medication doses have been increased so he doesn’t have much pain.”

He also had some more exciting news.

“Junaid is returning to school on Monday after being at home since February.

“We visited the school last week to get him sorted for his return.

“He was so excited, he is looking forward to Monday.

“He needs to take morphine every four hours but he is fit to go back.”

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