PA embraces the youth: New young faces in Parliament

Published Jun 13, 2024


In recent years, much has been said about how many elderly people fill the benches as Members of Parliament who govern South Africa.

The Patriotic Alliance (PA) has responded to the growing call for the inclusion of young voices in governance.

Two youthful delegates have been appointed to Parliament by the PA. Party leader Gayton McKenzie has named 20-year-old Cleo Wilskut and 22-year-old Jasmine Petersen as new MPs to support the cause.

The two will hold five-year terms as Members of Parliament.

This announcement indicates a trend toward the inclusion of young people in South African governance and comes after a similar initiative by ActionSA.

This change reflects an understanding of the need to incorporate a diverse range of viewpoints and the youthful energy that Parliament requires.

Responses to this development on social media have been varying. A portion of the public supports the action as a first step in bringing life to politically stagnant areas, while others voice doubts about the ability of young politicians to handle complex political issues.

One twitter user, @Mtezman remarked: ‘’Well done PA!!! Exactly what @AneleMda advocates!!! Let the young people in‼️‼️ You may not be in alliance but commonalities can be recognized.’’

@MkatekoRobert said: ‘’@GaytonMcK thanks for giving the young ones an opportunity to lead. Hopefully, the retirement home and other parties will learn something from you.’’

@MataliTai noted that representation matters and diversity is enriching for all and that’s what we need to see.

@Royalbarbie_111 said: ‘’this is the kind of representation we need as the South African Youth.’’

Conversely, another user, @d_peekay said: ‘’although, this is commendable, but to make an impact in Parliament as a new party you also need heavy weights. Younger politicians tend to struggle to make an impact in Parliament (Nompendulo, Shikwambana, Ntsube, etc). We nonetheless wish them success.’’

@Custocentrix said: ‘’the Outside is just celebrating their young age, please kindly explain what skill sets and knowledge they have that will add value to parliament. With the numerous challenges the country is currently facing we cannot afford to be having intern parliamentarians.’’

These opinions are representative of a larger discussion on the standards set for young politicians. Many people hope that the next generation will be able to bring new perspectives, creative fixes, and a willingness to challenge established norms. They see a more diverse Parliament that better represents the interests and concerns of the general public.

Nonetheless, questions remain about whether younger politicians have the background and temperament to serve their voters well.

Despite the reservations, South Africans advocate youth inclusion in politics and they hope they will not only bring new perspectives, but also inspire greater trust and engagement among the electorate.

IOL Politics