The National Planning Commission (NPC) is reaching out to the youth to engage in the NPC dialogue via MXit during the month of May.
Launched at MXit’s offices in Stellenbosch, on the eve of Freedom Day, NPC representatives and national planning minister Trevor Manuel engaged in a live chat with MXit users. Every week, NPC representatives will participate in a one hour chat with MXit users, while the portal will also be open at all other times for MXit users to post their views and comments.
Manuel said during the first chat: “It is time for young people, as the new generation, to take over the baton from the youth of 1976 and shape the country you desire.”
According to the NPC, the new initiative aims to target the South African youth who do not have access to computers and the Internet. “This audience represents a marginalised voice who need to be part of the dialogue to ensure they shape the future of their country,” says the NPC.
MXit is still the most popular social networking service locally, with over 10 million South African users.
The newly established NPC MXit portal contains a brief summary of all of the 13 chapters of the draft national development plan. Last year, the NPC ran an “NPC Jam” in an online forum and used social media to appeal to South Africans to contribute to the national planning dialogue.
Following its efforts to engage with the South African public via various online platforms, and the release of the draft national plan and ‘Vision 2030’ last year, the NPC has also released a series of YouTube videos that outline the various issues. Collectively, the videos have received over 35 000 views.
As an incentive for MXit users to get involved, the NPC will offer a weekly prize of 100 000 Moola (the equivalent of R1 000) for the best contribution. The winners will also get to meet Manuel, Cyril Ramaphosa (the chairman and deputy chairman of the NPC respectively) and other NPC representatives to discuss their ideas.
On Thursday, the NPC said over 6 000 users had already joined the portal and topics of discussion included unemployment, education and public transport.
MXit CEO Alan Knott-Craig Jnr said: “We are excited that the NPC has approached us and will make every effort to make sure that this dialogue reaches our MXit users. I would urge them to make use of this wonderful opportunity to shape the future of our country.”