Shortly after the delivery of the 2015 budget speech by Finance Minister Nhlanhla Nene, I attended quite an interesting session hosted by one of the most informative TV channels in our continent known as CNBC Africa. This forum was meant to examine the youth’s perspective regarding the speech.
(WATCH VIDEO: Does the S.African 2015 Budget address youth challenges?)
What has been circulating among the SA youth, in general, is the increase of cigarette and alcohol prices. Which I, personally, expected as it has been happening for a few years now. That part of the speech as predictable as Generations the soap, you do not need to watch every episode to know what the next episode brings.
Among the astute body of young professionals, we were in the presence of the principal of the London School of Business SA who posed a question that inspired this article. He firstly thanked the beautiful host, Nozipho Mbanjwa, and CNBC Africa for creating such a platform. He then asked the youth; what are you going to do about this?
He asked the question in reference to what was mainly discussed in unison, corruption. He inspired the whole lot of us by making reference of our historic figures’ effort of standing up to an unjust system.
Smile, my beloved country
We, as today’s youth, possess almost an insurmountable and grave amount of power because of the internet. That is to say that unlike the 1970s, we have the power of communicating far more efficiently, effectively and timeously among each other. Internet usage in SA has increased radically in the few past years.
According to internetlivestats.com, 46.88% of SA population are internet users – that is over 24.9 million people all in one virtual realm. Last year alone, we had 3-million new internet users, what of this year then and the coming year? With reference to the 2014 mid-year population statistics, there are 15.5 million people aged 15-29 years and if only 10% are internet users that would be well over 1.5 million people saying no to corruption. Can you imagine the noise of 1.5 million people? Neither can I.
Cry, my not-so beloved parliament
It is unfair to have money taken away from us to satisfy a certain groups needs and not the whole country. Our politicians say more money is needed, then e-tolls were brought with Gauteng motorists’ disapproval disregarded. Within the speech, the possibility of income tax increment whereas accountability in parliament cannot do the same, increase.
We need stringent policies based on our moral conduct of Ubuntu to be enforced in our not-so beloved parliament. So, my fellow youth, can you ask yourself this grave question… what can you do to ensure that this does not continue?
Ways over promises
Income tax Increase or developing e-tolls is not going to help us jump this hurdle we are faced with. Can we be more concerned with means than ends? Can we stand up and make noise? This will not mean that you are negative about South Africa, no. This will mean that you do not stand for naff (uncool) behaviour and double standards. This will mean that you understand what our parents endured and died for. This will mean that you are a liberated South African citizen.
You are at a better position than our predecessors, you have all the power in the world to do something about it. Let not the perceptions of 54 million people be negatively influenced by a few tens of corrupt people. Why can we not be like the US in 1920 who decided to forget the world and decided to focus on themselves only to see the whole world coming back to it in the 1930s for their movies and literacy?
What time is it?
Tell me my fellow youth, can we stand now? Not for the sake of history but for the sake of correcting what is being taken away from our brothers’ and sisters’ tertiary education financial-aid. I mean how many children would have graduated from the Nkandla money (R200M)? Can we rectify the abhorring standards of some of our government clinics and the primary schools that our children will attend?
I do not care if you are black, white, Chinese, as long as you were born in this country, we are all using the same clock. So tell me my fellow youth, on your clock, what time is it? Is it time to make a noise or is it time turn the other cheek? What time is it?
*Mbongeleni B. Hlomuka is a marketing specialist who offers an extra-mile approach to branding.