Being a better citizen in 2015

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

By Minister in the Presidency Jeff Radebe

Let us make 2015 the year of unity and cooperation amongst all South Africans, as we continue to transform our beautiful country into the prosperous one described in the Constitution, the Freedom Charter and the National Development Plan,’’ said President Jacob Zuma in his new year address.

As we move South Africa forward in 2015 let us take a conscious decision to everyday make the country a better place for all to live in.

It requires that you pull your weight and be accountable for your actions.  The manner in which we conduct ourselves is guided by our world acclaimed Constitution. It provides the basis for genuine democracy, the rule of law and the enjoyment of fundamental rights.

Our Constitution is inspired by the Freedom Charter, which marks its 60th anniversary this year. The preamble of the Constitution, like that of the Freedom Charter, reminds us that South Africa belongs to all who live in it.

Let us embolden the rights of every South African as enshrined in the Constitution and honour our obligations as citizens to each other and the country. Though it may be difficult to envisage South Africa overcoming poverty, unemployment and inequality, let us – in the spirit of the Freedom Charter – reach out to each other and create the country and society of our dreams.

Let us work towards protecting the rights of the vulnerable. We must ensure we treat women and children with respect and report abuse.

The time has come for all of us to take an active interest in the running of the country. If an issue affects you, comment on the green paper and attend public hearings to make your voice heard. Through our programme of Izimbizo you can engage officials on issues that are close to home. A good society is built by active citizen.

You can assist the country overcome its energy challenges by saving energy at every possible opportunity. In the fight against crime you can partner with your local police station and be the first to report illegal activities in your area. Let us make 2015 a drug free year. Let us be intolerant of anarchy – for example, take a stand against the looting of shops.

If you are a parent, participate in this year’s School Governing Body Election. Ensure your children are on time for school, have the correct texboooks and school transport is roadworthy.

Let us bring our road death toll to zero. Road safety is a responsibility of every South African.

We must strive to be a healthy nation by cutting down on alcohol and smoking and following healthy diet. Educate yourself and children about HIV, and get tested on a regular basis.

This year ensure your spending patterns do not result in financial strain. Develop a budget and commit to a saving plan.

Government will continue in 2015 to implement the National Development Plan and the Medium-Term Strategic Framework.

We will work to create more jobs opportunities, empower people through skills development, expand our economic infrastructure, build a capable state and develop sustainable communities.

President Zuma noted that in 2015 “the journey continues towards the South Africa in which there will be an improved quality of life for all - a South Africa without poverty, inequality and unemployment”.

We need every South African to rise to the occasion so that together we can all arrive at the country we envisage.