'Yes’ for National Development Plan
16 Aug 2012
The National Development Plan (NDP) has been embraced by political parties in Parliament, although the opposition doubts that the government will have the will to implement it. The Plan was handed to President Jacob Zuma by Minister for Planning in the Presidency, Mr Trevor Manuel, during a joint sitting of the two Houses.
The document contains recommendations how to tackle the country's challenges over the next 20 years and was prepared for government by the National Planning Commission (NPC).
Key proposals on the economy and employment include raising exports, and taking steps to prevent excessive overvaluation of the currency. The document calls for better skills development, removing disincentives to hiring young people and doing more to break monopolies. It also expresses concern about outsourcing and increasing competition. Minister Manuel urged South Africans to embrace the NDP.
“It is a plan for our collective future. It is up to all of us to make it work. We speak of a future with expanding opportunities. We speak of a future we must shape, because we care and because we cannot miss the opportunity to do so,” he said.
Over the past two years, the Commission had listened to thousands of South Africans from all over the country and all walks of life.
The plan we present today focuses on how we can translate our political emancipation into social and economic benefits for all South Africans, and particularly for young people. It is crucial for the future of our country that we change the life chances of young people.”
The NDP was a broad strategic plan, not a detailed roadmap. The Commission had taken care to distinguish between a broad strategy, specific policies of government and the day-to-day actions of business, the government or trade unions.
“The Commission has drawn from our Constitution the perspective that the future we must construct is one where no person lives in poverty and where together we deal decisively to root out the deep inequality that we have inherited. We are convinced that our country can and must eliminate poverty.”
Opposition parties expressed support for the NDP, but voiced doubts over the government's will to put it into practice.
"We believe that the plan's success or failure will depend on if the President will rise to the challenge of aligning his policies with the goals and objectives of the NDP," said the DA’s leader in Parliament, Ms Lindiwe Mazibuko. She doubted whether the government could convince players like the Congress of South African Trade Unions and the South African Communist Party to “buy-in” to the plan.
Cope Leader Mr Mosiuoa Lekota asked for the refined plan to be implemented against a tight time-frame and against the backdrop of better accountability.
Mr Mangosothu Buthelezi, IFP-leader, said he recognised the enormity of the task but hoped this plan did not follow in the footsteps of unsuccessful policy proposals like Gear (Growth, Employment and Redistribution) and Asgisa (Accelerated and Shared Growth in South Africa).
The Independent Democrats were concerned about finding the funds to implement the Plan, the Freedom Front Plus stressed the need for a capable civil service, and the African Christian Democratic Party wanted more emphasis on social cohesion and nation-building in such a document. Other parties agreed that maladministration had to be eliminated.
Mr Sisa Njikelana, African National Congress (ANC), applauded the National Planning Commission for its sterling work and said the Plan was an illustration of how the country was progressing to high levels of development. “It is a golden opportunity to compare and enhance co-ordination not only between government departments but all spheres of government in an effort to reverse the ‘silos-syndrome’,” he said.
President Zuma said in his acceptance speech that by nature of the Plan, all South Africans should identify with and embrace it.
“Regardless of our political differences, we broadly agree on the need to build a united, non-racial, non-sexist, and prosperous South Africa. We may disagree on methods, but the end result is not difficult to agree on. The national Plan describes that final destination that we are all moving towards.”
The Executive would discuss the document at the cabinet lekgotla next month to harmonise it with existing development plans and projects. President Zuma rejected statements by the opposition that the ANC did not support the National Development Plan.
Issued by: Parliament of South Africa
16 Aug 2012
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