As the country prepares to host the 10th BRICS Summit that starts today, South Africans are expecting the event to change their own lives in a positive way.
The summit will be held under the theme “BRICS in Africa: collaboration for inclusive growth and shared prosperity in the 4th Industrial Revolution”.
While the host nation grapples with serious economic challenges ranging from unemployment and widening inequality, to stagnant economic growth and poverty, some residents said they hoped the summit would address these problems.
Lerato Tumang, 22, a fourth-year student at the University of Johannesburg, thinks the summit should focus on domestic issues, especially those affecting young people.
“We understand that it should also focus on what’s happening within the BRICS countries and the world But this would be irrelevant if it does not touch on what affects us as the youth,” she said.
“While education is accessible, we need jobs and other opportunities after graduating. For me, it’s all about jobs, growing the economy and reducing the number of people who live in poverty,” she added.
Mlungisi Mbanjwa, 55, a security guard in the Joburg CBD, said the summit should come up with ways to attract more investors. “They must deliberate on how we are going to bring more investors to South Africa.
“Investors would enable us to create jobs for our children. We should also talk about reducing crime because some will not want to come here if the crime (rate) is high,” Mbanjwa said.
Nsiki Nyoni, 30, said: “It’s good for our country to join hands with friendly countries in order to develop.”
Nqobile Mahlangu from Siyabuswa, Mpumalanga, echoed them. “We are waiting to see the results of BRICS also reaching our communities who are poor, with no jobs.
“We understand BRICS will help South Africa with some opportunities to get loans and do business with our country. But we want our youth to get jobs and more opportunities,” Mahlangu said.
Thandi Mangoloti, 30, who works at a restaurant in Rosebank, said the summit should deliberate on economic issues.
“We cannot do much as a nation on our own. We can’t improve our economy. Other BRICS countries must assist us (with) what we need to do to grow this economy.
“If other countries are performing well economically, we can do the same,” she said.