By Nomonde Mnukwa
Many South Africans will have entered the New Year with new resolutions as a way to improve their lives in 2024. Whatever your resolve for the year, it is not too late for one more resolution which could have a lasting change on you, your family, community and country.
It is to be a good citizen in 2024. This year let us all commit ourselves to become good and active citizens dedicated to making South Africa a better place for all who live in it. This is something we can all do by being someone who is accountable and considers what effect their actions and decisions will have on those around them.
It is this type of person that the National Development Plan, South Africa’s blueprint of the future, calls for all of us as part of an active citizenry to take the country forward. One way to be a better citizen is to honour our history and continue to strengthen the legitimacy of our democracy by participating in this year’s national general elections.
As citizens of the country, we have the right to elect representatives of our choice and have a say in the way in which the country is governed. To strengthen our democracy, South Africa needs an active citizenry that cares about our democracy and takes part in elections.
Therefore, ensure that you are registered to vote and if not visit your nearest polling station during the next voter registration weekend on 3 and 4 February 2024. It is also our duty as good citizens to encourage young people in our communities; especially those who are eligible to vote for the first time to register.
The 2024 general election is a historic milestone for South Africa as it marks our 30 Years of Freedom. It is a time for us to reflect on how our freedom and democracy were achieved and the progress we have made in the past 30 years.
This year make a commitment to be a part of our 30 Years of Freedom celebrations. There is indeed cause to celebrate because South Africa is undoubtedly a better country than we inherited from the apartheid regime in 1994.
Addressing the nation at the start of the year, President Cyril Ramaphosa said: “As we reflect on our journey over three decades, we are reminded of how far we have come and of the important progress we have made together.”
The president noted that the findings of Census 2022 relate to how our country has been transformed in a number of respects to enable South Africans to lead lives of dignity. In South Africa today, nearly nine out of ten households live in formal dwellings and eight out of ten households have access to water either inside their dwellings or in their yards. The proportion of young people in education has grown dramatically. Matric pass rates have improved and a far greater proportion of adults have completed high school.
According to the 2022 General Household Survey, the percentage of households that were connected to the electricity supply from the mains increased from 76,7 percent in 2002 to 89,6 percent in 2022.
We must continue working together in 2024, to build the South Africa of our dreams. It has always been our greatest strength that when we come together as a nation, anchored by our shared commitment to our country, we can achieve the impossible.
This year be a South African that is aware, involved and who takes an interest in the running of the country and solving our problems. Moreover, participate in the national conversation on how far we have come and how we can work together to overcome the challenges that we continue to face.
A good society is built by active citizens. If thousands of people begin making the same decision, soon it will become the norm. So let our actions this year speak louder than our words.
Nomonde Mnukwa is Acting Director General of GCIS