Military service for your kids?
Parents are questioning the proposed reintroduction of compulsory national service.
Compulsory military training for young people may become a fact of life as soon as 2016, but many are questioning the benefits of such a programme. Government, according to City Press, is strongly considering the move as an attempt to tackle unemployment among SA’s youth.
Conscription was halted in 1994, and ANC Secretary General Gwede Mantashe has said that he’d support its reintroduction, and that every “youth person” (sic) would serve “X number” of months or years. A proposed conscription scheme would be aimed at getting the youth skilled in engineering and volunteering at old-age homes and government departments rather than being actively involved in military efforts.
Parents are expressing both support and doubts for the scheme and are raising the following points when it comes to debating the plausibility of it:
• Compulsory service would remove some young people from an environment where they could start businesses, effectively delaying their ability to add to the economy.
• Historically, military action left thousands of young men with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Although this programme is said to not be primarily military in nature, government could feasibly redirect conscripted troops to foreign war zones on the continent.
• Many who experienced conscription in the previous incarnation have stated that it was a complete waste of time.
• Many young people may leave the country rather than enter a conscription programme.
• People question the country’s ability to fund such a campaign and, in addition, are commenting that it would simply be both disguised unemployment and cheap labour.
• Some parents are adamant that their kids should have no part in any military environment.
• It makes people recall the previous government and the way young people were forced to fight in conflicts regardless of their personal and political beliefs.
• Some suggest that SA is too violent already, and that this system would train young people to be even more violent.
• Some suggest it would help young people become more disciplined.
• It is being touted as an ideal way for young people to find purpose and direction in terms of career paths as well as enabling them to become skilled.
• It would, supposedly, keep unemployed youth off the streets and therefore remove the temptation for young people to commit crimes.
The debate will rage on, and parents will have their arguments for and against it, but what would your children say to conscription into national service?
Compulsory national service: yes or no?