Schools and parents should stop corporal punishment

Mbali Shinga, KwaZulu-Natal chairperson of the National Freedom Party, is hoping to be the next premier. | SUPPLIED

Mbali Shinga, KwaZulu-Natal chairperson of the National Freedom Party, is hoping to be the next premier. | SUPPLIED

Published May 12, 2024


Durban — Using corporal punishment to discipline children can never be a solution, but will only create a violent society.

Schools and parents should instead look for non-violent means when dealing with children, said National Freedom Party (NFP) KwaZulu-Natal chairperson Mbali Shinga.

Shinga is looking forward to becoming premier if the outcome of the upcoming general elections favours her party, which was a breakaway from the IFP.

Although the NFP had since the death of its founder, Zanele kaMagwaza-Msibi, suffered a loss of support as a result of factionalism and series of court battles, Shinga said in the build-up to the May 29 elections, the party was recovering, thanks to loyal supporters.

She hoped that even if the NFP failed to win the elections, through coalition agreements she might become the premier and if that happened, she would protect the rights of women and children.

“There should be no corporal punishment in school; this is still being practised even though it is against the law. Instead, we must find an alternative way of dealing with misbehaviour among children.

“Maybe schools should have social workers to work with ill-disciplined children because such children might have an underlying problem,” said Shinga, who was listed as number one on the party’s provincial election candidate list.

The 50-year-old MPL spent the better part of her adulthood working for various non-governmental organisations, which led to her caring for the vulnerable. She believed that hitting children could lead to them becoming violent adults, with women and children becoming victims.

She was the second born in a family of 10 children but did not recall her parents hitting them when they misbehaved.

“Sometimes we would be punished by being given extra work to do at home, which is why until today I still don’t understand why parents hit their children.

“My parents never hit me, but I grew up to be a better person,” she said.

Shinga said being part of a big family taught her to share with other people. Like any ordinary child growing up in a rural area, Shinga grew up collecting firewood from a forest, water from a river and applying cow dung to clean the house floor.

“We were family and culturally rooted, which taught us to stay away from behaviours that led to many of our peers getting infected with diseases,” he said.

Before joining the NFP at its inception in 2011, Shinga, who was born and bred in Mthwalume, South Coast, was not involved in politics. She worked as a regional manager for LoveLife, in charge of the Ilembe and Umgungundlovu districts and as a trainer for Hospice.

“LoveLife did a lot to make a difference to young people in KwaZulu-Natal during the HIV pandemic.

“I travelled throughout the province setting up youth centres and through LoveLife’s prevention campaign, we brought sports and arts to keep young people busy so that they can be protected from the disease,” she said.

She said that while working with vulnerable women and children, she developed a love for politics.

“We would travel to deal with people affected by HIV, but we would discover that poverty and abuse were the root cause,” she said.

Because of her impressive work with various NGOs, she was recruited to join the NFP.

Shinga was elected provincial chairperson along with Ivan Barnes, who became the president last year as she called the party’s first elective congress since the death of kaMagwaza Msibi in 2021.

“I was so humbled that people (NFP members) trusted me to lead them at the provincial level,” she said.

Through being MPL, she understood the needs of the people and the shortcomings of the ruling party.

Shinga has for many years been an entrepreneur, although she declined to reveal the type of business she was involved with. She said her business had never benefited from state tenders.

“I am a self-taught entrepreneur from Mthwalume, who has trained local business entrepreneurs and created business opportunities through partnership with the University of KwaZulu-Natal Business School’s social entrepreneurs project, which came to Umzumbe to share knowledge with business people,” she said.

Shinga has certificates in Project Management from INTEC College, Business Management from Damelin College and a Diploma in Business Management from the Trident Institute.

She said her party did not have a specific party to go into coalition with but would be open to anyone who shared similar views.

The NFP launched its election manifesto in Ulundi on April 21.

Shinga said she was not concerned about the emergence of the uMkhonto weSizwe Party, which seems to be growing fast in KwaZulu-Natal.

“People have seen us helping them, they will not forget us,” she said.

As a devoted Christian, the single mother of a daughter and son said she was praying for peaceful elections.

“There are currently signs of political intolerance by members of political parties during campaigns,” she said.

Sunday Tribune