SA: National dialogue aimed at youth launched on Mxit

Pretoria – On the eve of Freedom Day, the National Planning Commission (NPC) has launched a national dialogue aimed at the youth on the social media platform Mxit.

The dialogue aims to reach a massive youth audience that does not have easy access to computers and the internet.

“It is time for young people as the new generation to take over the baton from the youth of 1976 and shape the country you desire,” Minister in the Presidency: National Planning Commission Trevor Manuel said on Thursday, via a live chat in Johannesburg.

The launch of the initiative, which included chatting to users, was held at the Mxit offices in Stellenbosch.

According to a statement by the NPC, Mxit has over 50 million registered users and on a typical day users send over 750 million messages.

Manuel called on Mxit users to become actively involved in the NPC Mxit dialogue which runs until the end of May.

Each week NPC representatives will participate in a one hour chat with Mxit users. “At all other times, Mxit users who join the portal, will be able to make their views and comments known,” said the NPC.

The Mxit NPC portal contains a brief illustrated summary of the 13 chapters of the draft National Development Plan.

The National Development Plan aims to make a better life for all by eliminating poverty and reducing inequality by 2030. It sets out proposals to address the most pressing problems facing South Africa by providing better education, health and nutrition, safe communities, physical infrastructure such as schools, clinics, ports and power lines, transport and job opportunities.

The plan is currently being refined through a series of public engagements.

Each week, the best contribution will receive a prize of 100 000 Moola (R1000) with the best contribution each week winning an opportunity to meet the minister who chairs the NPC and Cyril Ramaphosa, the deputy chair. The winner will also meet 24 other commissioners to explain their winning ideas.

By this morning, over 6000 users had joined the NPC Mxit portal. Some of the issues raised by users included unemployment and education.

Comments were responded to by NPC representatives and Mxit users were urged to use the NPC Mxit portal to leave comments and join the dialogue.

CEO of Mxit Alan Knott-Craig said he was glad that the NPC had approached Mxit.

“I have read the draft national development plan and its vision is of a country that I would like my children to grow old in. We are excited that the NPC has approached us and will make every effort to make sure that this dialogue reaches our Mxit users. I would urge them to make use of this wonderful opportunity to shape the future of our country,” he said.

On Friday, South Africa celebrates 18 years of democracy. The country’s first democratic election was held on 27 April 1994.

Source: BuaNews – 26 April 2012