Source: Gauteng Premier office
Title: SA: Mokonyane: Address by the Gauteng Premier, on the occasion of the Youth Parliament, Ekhuruleni
According to mid-year population estimates of July 2010, the South African population increased by about 530 000 people to about 49.9 million. Of this number 31% is aged less than 15 years and about 20% of these young people live in Gauteng. About 98% of the Gauteng population is concentrated in urban centres. What these figures tell us is that we are a very young and highly urbanised province. If the greatest number of our future residents is currently youthful, it therefore means our plans should be geared towards serving their interests.
As government in Gauteng, we are fully aware of this reality. We appreciate the fact that Gauteng is home to young people who are dynamic, innovative and driven. With this in mind, we have conceptualised and developed a long-term future plan with youth as the primary stakeholder. This plan is called Vision 2055 (G2055) which is the vision that seeks to place Gauteng in a position of a highly competitive city region in the world. In simple terms, it is a plan that will shape and influence the course of growth and development in Gauteng. We are very much aware that no plan that seeks to determine the future of Gauteng will see the light of day without the input or suggestions of young people. It is for this reason, amongst others, that we intend to involve young people in the crafting of this vision.
We launched Gauteng 2055 Discussion Document for community and stakeholder consultation on 24 May 2012. Gauteng 2055 speaks to the long term development needs of the Gauteng City Region (GCR). It deals with a need to think beyond the short-term in order to create the type of generational change evident in many of the successful regions of the world.
Research carried out since 2005 has focused on the potential of the Gauteng City-Region establishing an understanding of this integrated cluster of cities, towns and nodes that together make up the economic heartland of South Africa.
The Gauteng 2055 discussion document contains the following elements:
A conceptual framework that reflects on our vision for 2055, the key ideals that underpin it, and the role of all stakeholders in realising this dream;
The path we have travelled to date and the current realities we face;
A set of proposed vision statements in relation to each ideal, with the key issues we need to debate framed as questions.
Over the coming months we aim to run a dynamic public participation campaign that will capture the public’s imagination, building on the ideals and dreams represented in the Freedom Charter and the Constitution of our country.
To support community participation, we plan to roll out Gauteng 2055 kiosks across our regions at shopping centres, campuses, taxi ranks and Thusong Service Centres. Leaflets about Gauteng 2055 will be distributed, encouraging members of the public to contribute their ideas. Citizens and members of civil society will be able to make submissions through various channels such as Izimbizo, email; online and social media platforms.
We will concentrate on all stakeholders including business and professional associations, labour, special interest groups representing women, children, the youth and people living with disabilities, Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs), Community Based Organisations (CBO) and Faith Based Organisations, to name just a few. We will work with the Department of Education, as we encourage students in our schools to share their ideas of the future Gauteng they hope to live in.
As you know, the month of June is youth month in South Africa. During this month, we are holding youth consultations in all five metro and district areas. It is the opportunity for young people to influence and build the kind of Gauteng you would like to inherit. You will be the ultimate recipients of the GCR in 2055; the generation we will hand this future to. Seize the moment and be counted as we create the Gauteng that we all have to be proud of.
However, the success of our plans is also dependent on the production of knowledge and skills required by the socio-economic conditions that exist. Education and training is very important in the realisation of our goals. We need young people that have world class skills and leadership capacity that will turn things around for the better. In Gauteng almost 40% of our people have acquired a high school education. We need to increase this number so that we can be better place to compete with the outside world in areas of innovation, business, science and technology.
As important as education is, the issues of health and lifestyle are as critical. Today, young people are faced with challenges of HIV and AIDS. Many die at their prime. We all need to stop this scourge by changing our lifestyles. We need healthy and bright youngsters that can take the leadership of this country to new heights. Beside HIV and AIDS, our youth is being destroyed by drugs and substance abuse which cause serious problems for the families and society in general. It is your responsibility as a young person to expose drug-peddlers and other criminals in our communities. It is your responsibility to shout out and say “NO TO DRUGS”.
Your fight against these ills should emulate the courageous youth of 1976 who understood that they can no longer stand on the side while their country was destroyed by apartheid and racism. It is your turn to stand up too and stop the rot that slowly destroys our young bright minds.
In order to achieve many of our collective goals as people of Gauteng, the youth should begin to actively participate in structures and organisations that seek to improve our conditions. You must become members of organisations that have the interests of youth at heart first and that of the general population. It is only when you are involved in community structures that you can effectively shape the direction of development of this province. You need to belong. You need live a purposeful life.
It is up to you, as leaders of tomorrow, to grab the opportunities and build the future that you desire.