Transformation Audit 2012: The Youth Dividend: Unlocking the Potential of Young South Africans
Change is occurring at a blinding pace in almost every imaginable sphere around us. In some we are spectators and in others our cumulative actions and decisions contribute to shape the future. Overwhelmed by having to deal with the speed and complexity of the choices that they have to make, policy-makers are increasingly confronted with immediate â€“ and often unprecedented â€“ predicaments. As a result, there is often little opportunity to contemplate the long-term consequences of these choices. South Africa faces several pressing challenges. Poverty, for example, dictates that thousands of South Africanâ€™s face existential choices about housing, nourishment and healthcare on a daily basis. There is nothing more urgent than a choice between life and death. We need solutions to relieve the plight of those affected. Fast. At the same time, the country also needs to consider the investments that it will have to make today in order to ensure that future generations do not have to toil with the same struggles that affect the present. Physical infrastructure may help, but its ability to render dividends is limited when compared to the returns that proper investment in our human resources, our people, can bring. Some view the South African youth as volatile, a ticking time bomb. And while they indeed have many serious obstacles to overcome, their proportion of our population and the energy they can potentially add to the economy also make them one of this countryâ€™s greatest assets. It would be a pity if short-sighted thinking treats them any differently. For this reason, this yearâ€™s publication focuses its attention squarely on young South Africans, their challenges, their views, and how they can be equipped to make this a better country for all who live in it.