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Molebogeng Maswabi
 
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Road to 2030 – Take the lead, youth

07 February 2014, 20:00  - Molebogeng Maswabi
Unemployment, 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.

Then 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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