The National Planning Commission is a new initiative of government. Chaired by the Minister in The Presidency for National Planning, the NPC is responsible for developing a long term vision and strategic plan for South Africa. The Commission will also advise on cross-cutting issues that impact on South Africa’s long term development.
The mandate of the National Planning Commission is contained in the Revised Green Paper released in February 2010. The mandate was further elaborated by President Jacob Zuma at the inaugural meeting of the NPC on 11 May 2010:
The mandate of the commission is to take a broad, cross-cutting, independent and critical view of South Africa, to help define the South Africa we seek to achieve in 20 years time and to map out a path to achieve those objectives. The commission is expected to put forward solid research, sound evidence and clear recommendations for government.
The commission will also work with broader society to draw on the best expertise, consult the relevant stakeholders and help to shape a consensus on what to do about the key challenges facing us. Government has often taken a sectoral and short-term view that has hampered development. Taking a long-term and independent view will add impetus, focus and coherence to our work.
The establishment of the National Planning Commission is our promise to the people of South Africa that we are building a state that will grow the economy, reduce poverty and improve the quality of life of our citizens.
The Commission is made up of 25 part-time Commissioners appointed by the President on the basis of their skills and expertise. The chairperson of the NPC is Minister Trevor Manuel and the deputy chairperson is Mr Cyril Ramaphosa. The Commission is supported by a fulltime secretariat of public servants.
The NPC began its work shortly after its appointment in May 2010 and produced elements of the vision statement and a Diagnostic Overview on 9th June 2011.The Diagnostic Overview sets out the key challenges that we confront in fighting poverty and inequality and in achieving the objectives in our Constitution.
An intense period of consultation took place across the country including a live 72 hour online discussion , dubbed as the “NPC Jam” , where over 10 000 participants engaged with NPC commissioners. All nine provinces were visited by the commission and numerous public forums hosted with the intention of securing broad agreement about what is wrong in the country. The NPC then focussed its attention on completing the Draft National Development Plan – Vision for 2030. The draft was handed to the President and Deputy President on 11 November 2011.
President Zuma then requested the NPC to embark on a national dialogue to elicit further views on the draft national plan. Extensive consultations took place with different sectors in society about the content of the plan and to seek inputs. The leaders of political parties represented in Parliament were briefed on a consistent basis. All provinces were visited again during which members of the provincial executive committee, senior government officials, mayors and municipal managers were met. Broader forums were held with labour, business, civil society , youth formations, traditional leaders and religious formations.
On 15th August 2012 , the revised National Development Plan 2030 entitled, “ Our future-make it work” was handed to the President at a special joint sitting of Parliament. All political parties represented in Parliament expressed support for the NDP.
On 6th September 2012 the Cabinet Lekgotla welcomed the NDP as prepared by the National Planning Commission and acknowledged the plan as the strategic framework to form the basis of future government planning. The lekgotla also resolved to establish a cabinet committee to develop targets and integrated implementation plans with FOSAD ( the National Forum for Directors General).
At the national conference of the ruling party held at Manguang from the 16th to 20th December 2012, the ANC issued a draft declaration on 20th December. In this declaration, the following was said about the NDP , “ We engaged in vigorous and searching debates on the persistence of the legacy of apartheid colonialism, reflected in the triple challenges of poverty, inequality and unemployment. Responding to these challenges , we are boldly entering the second phase of the transition from apartheid colonialism to a national democratic society. This phase will be characterised by decisive action to effect economic transformation and democratic consolidation, critical both to improve the quality of life of all South Africans and to promote nation building and social cohesion. Consequently , in pursuance of these objectives, we embraced Vision 2030 and the National Development Plan as a platform for united action by all South Africans to eradicate poverty, create full employment and reduce inequality as critical building blocks towards a truly united ,non-racial , non-sexist, democratic and prosperous society”
The National Planning Commission is currently involved in advising government on an implementation framework for the National Development Plan.