poverty and inequality continue to be amongst South Africa’s most unremitting
key challenges. Whilst unemployment is estimated to be at
an appalling rate of 25.2%, approximately half of South Africans are living
under poverty stricken conditions, and inequality levels are on the rise. In
responding to, and confronting this national dilemma, it was highly crucial
that a rigorous plan be formulated.
In 2011, National Planning Commission
Minister, Trevor Manuel paid us a much needed campus visit, for an engagement
around the infamous National Development Plan (NDP), otherwise known as Vision
2030. It is not very often that students find themselves in the midst of
high-profiled individuals such as Ministers, and so, Minister Manuel was well
and warmly received by students of the University of Johannesburg. Minister
later took to the stage, and eloquently shared a message on Vision 2030.
and there, I realized, and appreciated highly, the efforts being made by the
National Planning Commission in curbing South Africa’s societal ills. The NDP,
as per the NPC, is a national plan aimed at alleviating poverty, and decreasing
unemployment and inequality. I commend our government for its efforts on
popularizing the plan well amongst various stakeholders, through its various
platforms and programmes. As a proud South African citizen, whose interests are
vested in contributing to the development of our nation, I not only see the
plan as one that is sensible, but one personifies hope in so far as social
development, upliftment, and cohesion is concerned.
My concern though, is the rate
at which South Africans are choosing to embrace and take ownership of the plan.
Another concern is the lack of engagement concerning the national plan, in our
townships, and rural areas, wherein which high percentages of unemployment and
poverty are most prevalent. Surely, if we are committed to the realization of
the NDP, we need to approach its implementation inclusively and holistically.
How are the multitudes of people situated in our townships, and rural areas
expected to display their sense of patriotism, which we continue to promote and
speak so loudly of? I attended yet another seminar focused on the NDP not so
long ago. The seminar, hosted in Johannesburg, somewhat expanded my knowledge
on the NDP and created an urge within me, to take seriously my concern around
the lack of information and engagement regarding the NDP, in the townships, and
rural areas. I was encouraged, really, to share this urge with a close friend
who was attending the very same seminar.
I shared with her the necessity behind
informed young people taking it upon themselves to form into groups, spread out
into various communities, and educate members of communities, youth in
particular, on the NDP. The establishment of such platforms, by young South
Africans, would not only stimulate further discussions around national plans,
but would also allow for more meaningful engagements wherein which energies are
focused around the construction of action plans, that support fully the
realisation of the NDP.
Even though I am yet to practice that which is preached
above, I remain confident in the possibility of like-minded youth taking
initiative to popularize the NDP. Over and above, I’m confident that our youth
have within them, great potential to own the national plan, and drive South
Africa to its desired goals. I hereby call on capacitated and informed youth,
to take forward and promote the NDP. Together, we can indeed do, and achieve
more. May we be as involved and active in the shaping of our country, as we
would be in the celebrations of its milestones.
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