Now that is true empowerment

I recently accompanied my father, who is a member of the housing development agency, to a board meeting that was held in an extremely wealthy Johannesburg suburb - Houghton.

I recently accompanied my father, who is a member of the housing development agency, to a board meeting that was held in an extremely wealthy Johannesburg suburb - Houghton.

While I was forced to wait for him in the car I realised that our car was probably the cheapest there. The parking area was filled with top-of-the-range cars.

I said to myself: this is what causes most government plans to fail; we have a clique of elites who have probably long forgotten what it means to be without decent shelter, formulating poverty alleviation plans and programmes alone.

What happened to the ANC election slogan, "Together we can do more"? Those who will be affected by development plans must be part of the planning, implementation and monitoring process. That is true empowerment.

If we are truly serious about poverty alleviation the voices of those who are affected must be heard. I'm sure they can come up with better and more sustainable solutions since they are the ones feeling the pinch of homelessness, poverty and other social ills.

Let the voices of ordinary South Africans be heard otherwise these clever-sounding documents become "white elephants" that are meaningless and ineffective.

Nonkqubela Velem, Pretoria

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