Ahead of the 2017 Mandela Day celebration, President Jacob Zuma has called on South Africans to use this opportunity to intensify the fight against poverty in the country.
The Nelson Mandela International Day which comes up on 18 July is marked in honour of the struggle icon, late President Nelson Mandela who is known all over the world.
In line with the 2017 Mandela Day theme #ActionAgainstPoverty, President Zuma added that so far, the collaboration of various stakeholders to fight and alleviate poverty in the country has been commendable. Furthermore, he called on all sectors of the society to continue in their efforts to join forces with the Government to fight against the cankerworms eating deep into our society including poverty, inequality and unemployment.
According to the statement released by the Presidency, Zuma also urged South Africans to participate in various initiatives that will improve their living conditions. Both the poor and the working class in the society must work together to ensure that poverty is wiped out of the communities.
“Too many of our people live in poverty in spite of progress that government is making in fighting poverty, inequality and unemployment. As guided by the National Development Plan’s vision for rural revitalisation, inclusive economic growth and poverty reduction, we must work together to intensify poverty alleviation programmes and initiatives to ensure that our people receive basic human needs, especially food production to ensure access food. The people of South Africa are also encouraged to be actively involved in various initiatives that would change their lives and uplift their communities out of poverty,” said President Zuma.
According to Zuma, if we all put the theme of the 2017 Mandela Day into practice, may become a thing of the past if we all strive to promote food gardens for households, support cooperatives, SMMEs and other initiatives that will help alleviate poverty and improve the quality of life.
“In honour of Madiba, South Africans are encouraged to engage in meaningful and constructive community work by dedicating themselves to improve the lives of poor people and uplift the lives of those in need, to build a united and more caring society for a better life. Let us individually and collectively continue to make a difference in addressing the most pressing challenges of poverty, inequality and unemployment,” added President Zuma.
Notably, the South African government engages in several effective poverty alleviation programmes such as the Expanded Public Works Programme (EPWP), which has since 2014, created a lot of job opportunities, especially for the youth. The government has also completed the social grants reaching close to 17 million people mainly made up of old people and children.
Moreover, other initiatives such as the National Youth Science Corps (NARYSEC); Community Works Programme (CWP), SMME’s support and financing will be intensified to address unemployment and empower the youth who are the hope for tomorrow.