Public Protector urges young to be part of the solution to achieve the constitutional promise of a better life
The aspirations of young people today are not different to those of their 1976 counterparts, Public Protector Adv Thuli Madonsela told a Youth Month commemoration gathering in Merafong on Tuesday.
Speaking at Khutsong Community Hall, the Public Protector said young people today wanted a fair share in the resources of the country. They want education, access to employment, equal participation in the economy and a say in the running of their country. However the rules of engagements are different in that the constitutional democracy provides various means of constructive engagements through institutions such as the Public Protector.
The young people also want freedom like their 1976 counterparts, the difference being that the 1976 youth wanted freedom from political exclusion and oppression whereas today’s young people need socio-economic liberation.
This includes freedom from poverty, unemployment, disease and crime, including violence, and a fair share of the country’s resources, she said.
“Is it wrong for young people to aspire for these things? Certainly not. If you examine our country’s Constitution, you will notice that these are the things that the Constitution promises to all people of South Africa,” the Public Protector said.
She noted that among the realities that could not be ignored from statistics on the economic conditions of young people today was the alchemy of racial inequality.
The Public Protector noted that the youth wanted to feel that today is better than yesterday and tomorrow will be better than today. She noted that there are challenges such as unemployment, HIV/AIDS and many others.
She noted that some of the frustrations of young people in Merafong included failure of local businesses particularly the mines, to employ locals, concerns about municipal contracts, nepotism. The Public Protector urged young people to make time to understand how government works so as to be able to hold those who exercise public power and control over state resources accountable.
This had to be done through robust engagements and in partnership with institutions such as her office.
The Public Protector called on young people who engaged in business with the state not to be part of those who overcharged the government and paid kickbacks while delivering shoddy services. She indicated that this undermined the delivery of basic services promised in the Constitution.
She further called on young people to develop a sense of community service in order to help rid the country of many of the challenges it faces.
“I have a dream of seeing young people getting their hands dirty to build the country ... For example, if you are saying you are struggling with a clinic in your community, I would like to hear you saying to government ‘give us a piece of land, pay for the architects and we will work for free or for a minimum wage to bring development to our people’," she said.
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Tuesday, June 19, 2012