The government has to be held accountable, but people also need to be accountable to themselves and actively participate in their own progress, Cyril Ramaphosa, the Deputy Chairperson of the National Planning Commission, said on Wednesday.
“If we want to get ahead, we ourselves have to take steps to make it happen,” said Ramaphosa, addressing community members in Swartklip Community Hall in Mitchells Plain.
He echoed John F Kennedy’s famous 1961 inauguration speech when referring to the National Development Plan (NDP) and how South Africans should view the plan.
“Ask not what this plan can do for you, but what you as a citizen of this country can do to ensure this plan is implemented,” he said.
The National Development Plan had been broadly accepted by South Africans, what remained was for it to be implemented, he said. President Jacob Zuma had led by initiating the process to draft the plan.
“He is clear and firm on making sure that the plan should be implemented and I have no doubt that the plan will be implemented,” he said.
During the interaction, community members and representatives told National Planning Commission Minister Trevor Manuel and the commissioners how drugs, crime and unemployment were affecting Mitchells Plain.
They called for improved technical training to address unemployment in the area.
Ramaphosa agreed that technical colleges were urgently needed in Mitchells Plain, so that community members could acquire the necessary skills.
He urged residents not to take the law into their own hands, no matter how frustrated they felt, but rather to persist by working with those who are responsible for law and justice.
Turning to corruption, he said graft robbed citizens of the chance of benefiting from development and that should be rooted out.
He urged people to fight corruption and be the whistleblowers and raise their voice against those who are corrupt. “You must talk, you must tell,” he said.
Manuel said South Africans owed it to their children to leave behind a better and safer country.
He also urged ordinary people to report incidents of corruption.
“Corruption is always a tax against poor people – it takes away their services, it takes away their entitlements and we must act against it,” said Manuel.