State Of The Nation

“There’s a poverty of ideas among young people.”

This is a statement President Jacob Zuma made to a hall full of youth at the Young Communists League Congress held at the University of the Western Cape during December 2014. While the context of his speech was on how the youth in attendance could advance the cause for socialism, it did strike a chord on how this perhaps neglects the many efforts being made by youth to address their immediate challenges and contribute to the positive growth of our country.

The ACTIVATE! network is a prime example of a group of young South Africans invested in using innovation and their energy to contributing meaningfully.

Ahead of the 2015 State of the Nation address in a couple of weeks, we canvassed the network for thoughts on what the President should take into consideration for his next address:

“Mr. President if the State of the Nation address was a true reflection of our living conditions, we would never even bother to disturb you. But we are forced to disturb you, Mr President because, we want to know whose state of the Nation address is it anyway that you Mr President and all those who came before you represent and reflect on? Mr President, we believe that it is high time that the State of the Nation address is told as it is, the issues of poverty, crime, no electricity, unemployed youths, corrupt black people, corrupt white people, companies that continues to see black people as nothing but working tools, service delivery that is of poor quality including the issue of the bucket systems that continue to entrench the legacy of apartheid must be made the national agenda.” – Themba Vryman

“I’m a Project Manager at an organisation called Mankweng Youth Development. We focus on promoting quality education by offering extra classes and run literacy programmes such as annual spelling. As a youth worker, I urge you to bolster facilities to access financial resources to support the work that we do. The process of funding through the Department of Social Development is often quite difficult to navigate.” – Bopape Jacob

“I come from Maboloka in Brits, North West. It’s heartbreaking to still see a big area like that without water and tarred roads – the most saddening is that no one seems to be interested in taking responsibility. As an active member of that community, my most immediate suggestion is to interrogate the budget for the area in order to come up with workable ideas.” – Tsholofelo Moalosi

“I’m an activist and a servant leader with various progressive structures globally. I come from GaMarishane in Limpopo. Mr. President, some of us have been categorised as conference goers, for being pro-active in our country’s developments, needing to influence the direction the country needs to take. We’ve crossed rivers, country lakes and oceans in pursuit of global wisdom, the elementary ingredient for global leadership, hence we’ve been granted nomenclatures for the strides we’ve made and continue to make. However, all these things mean very little if we, the South African youth, are not enabled the space to impart the knowledge we’ve gained from our experiences in South Africa and internationally. We have the resources (skills, talents, energy and limited time) needed for development and sincerely want to develop our country, if only you’d just enable us to drive the much needed change in communities.” – Koketso Marishane

“I’m part of the publishing company, Provoker Holdings. We exist to create employment opportunities for fellow youth. I would love to commend our Honourable President and his administration for the wonderful policies that seek to promote SMEs, and trying their best to provide a conducive environment where entrepreneurial businesses can thrive, flourish and increase sustainability chances. As a young entrepreneur and nation-builder I would love to witness these brilliant policies being used effectively to address challenges that small businesses face in their attempt to create secured jobs for themselves and others. These policies must also come with severe penalties for those that seek to stifle the growth of SMEs.

It is very poignant that the largest fraction of the supplier-expenditure still goes to large corporates, which no longer have the ability or capacity to create sustainable employment and increase the responsiveness of the economy positively. It has been reported that seven in 10 small businesses increased in revenue and size within two years of becoming part of the corporate supplier base. When small companies interact with large businesses these SMEs devise changes that improve their organisational structures, management practices, competitiveness, operations, can grow in revenue and profitability and consequently increase their propensity to create million of jobs.

I would be keen to see more focus on improving supplier-development, as well as supply chain activities being more favourable to small businesses(beyond policy) as they must be given priority as they are the life-blood of the economy and a panacea for a lot of social ills.” – Noxolo Mthethwa

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