UFH students call on government to put young people at the centre of SA’s development plan

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“For a long time, the youth have been ignored when it comes to the development of the country. It is time for our views to be heard and be included in the plans to move this nation forward,” – this according to Liso Ndiki, a second-year UFH Bachelor of Commerce student.

Ndiki’s view was echoed by several UFH students who attended the National Development Plan (NDP) 10th Anniversary Public Lecture held at the University’s Alice Campus on the 23rd of September.

Launched on the 15th of August in 2022, the government’s NDP aims to eliminate poverty and reduce inequality by 2030. According to the plan: “South Africa can realize these goals by drawing on the energies of its people growing an inclusive economy, building capabilities, enhancing the capacity of the state, and promoting leadership and partnership throughout society.”

UFH was chosen by the National Planning Commission (NPC) to host the lecture to mark the significant milestone.

The lecture themed: How do we invoke and implement the National Development Plan: Vision 2030 to ensure a new socio-economic heritage for South Africa? was delivered by Ambassador Nozipho Mxakato-Diseko.

The event was attended by the Deputy Chairperson of the NPC, Professor Tinyiko Maluleke and seven commissioners. Also in attendance was the UFH senior management, led by the Vice-Chancellor, Prof Sakhela Buhlungu, students and members of the community.

Prof Buhlungu said: “If you want to talk about development, Alice and the Eastern Cape is the place to locate such discussions. We are very delighted to be the co-host of this important lecture and we hope we can continue doing this, in other ways in the future.”

Prof Maluleke said the selection of UFH as a co-host was deliberate. “Where else can we go to talk about the long-term vision of the country than Fort Hare?”

The lecture presented an opportunity to reflect on the challenges related to the implementation of the plan, report on the progress made and chart the way forward.

According to Ambassador Mxakato-Diseko, the plan is solid, however, the challenge is with the implementation.

“Somehow, we did not do the necessary work to ensure people own it and understand it and use the plan to hold government accountable. Also to use it to get involved in the decision-making processes of government.”

“I think what will assist us to make progress, is to take the NDP back to the people,” said the Ambassador.

President of the Student Representative Council (SRC), Snowi Hawker said “we are pleased that the lecture was held at the University as it enlightened the students and the community of Alice about the NDP”. He continued to say “Currently the plan lacks exposure, as such many people are not aware of it. With this lecture being held here, we hope people will be better informed.”