President Zuma welcomes the NPC National Development Plan and urges South Africans to engage in a national dialogue
President Jacob Zuma today welcomed the completion of the National Planning Commission‘s vision and plan for 2030 and called on South Africans to take ownership of the proposals and ideas and make them their own.
President Zuma was handed the commission’s draft plan in Pretoria by Chairperson of the Commission, Minister Trevor Manuel. The event was attended by leaders of the public, private sectors and civil society.
The President thanked and commended the 26 commissioners for putting the elimination of poverty and reduction of inequality at the heart of their plan. “These are the two challenges that most South Africans feel most strongly about. By putting prosperity and equity at the heart of the plan, you are making a bold statement about the values that underpin our state and our Constitution,” he said.
Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe also appreciated the commissioners’ bravery in acting upon the mandate given to them by the President of taking a broad, cross-cutting and independent view of South Africa in drafting the plan.
The President emphasised that this is not a plan for government but a plan for the people of South Africa. It was therefore important for everyone to give input and to make the plan their own.
He said the commission’s work followed in the South African tradition of collectively addressing its problems. “When we need solutions, when we are bogged down in difficulty, we talk through our problems and emerge with solutions.”
The draft plan charts a 20 year path towards achieving the overarching vision embedded in the Constitution that South Africa belongs to all who live in it. It breaks the five-year electoral cycle to allow for long-term planning. The plan opens the way for:
• The mobilisation of society around a commonly agreed set of long-term goals.
• Greater coherence in government’s work between departments which can only be achieved if there is a common understanding of long-term objectives.
• The development of a broad consensus to encourage business and society to think about the long term. This will provide a basis for making trade-offs and prioritising major decisions.
The President appealed to all citizens of the country to use their collective wisdom to refine the plan. “Taking forth this plan requires leadership through society. Every shop steward, induna, football team captain, church leader and business person has to provide leadership, to encourage dialogue about the solutions to our collective problems.”
He said the draft plan should kick-start a dialogue about how to resolve the biggest challenges facing the country. Over the next 3 to 6 months the proposals will be discussed and expanded. Young people in particular must be active in crafting a road plan for their reality in 2030.
Minister for Planning in the Presidency Trevor Manuel said all South Africans needed to work together with government, business and civil society to make the plan a reality. “While the state can build schools, we need communities to ensure that the schools work properly and that children study hard. Our paradigm is one where communities are active in their own development.”
The Commission’s draft plan sets out proposals to address the most pressing problems facing South Africa. These were set out in a diagnostic document prepared by the Commission and released in June. The draft plan addresses 13 key challenges and proposes:
1. Creating jobs and livelihoods
2. Expanding infrastructure
3. Transitioning to a low carbon economy
4. Transforming urban and rural spaces
5. Improving education and training
6. Providing quality healthcare
7. Building a capable state
8. Fighting corruption and enhancing accountability
9. Transforming society and uniting the nation
10. Creating an inclusive and integrated rural economy
11. Broadening social protection
12. Building safer communities
13. Enhancing South Africa’s role in relation to the region and the world
The draft plan sets out to meet these challenges head on. It draws heavily from a definition of development that focuses on creating the conditions, opportunities and capabilities of people. These include providing better education, health and nutrition, safe communities, physical infrastructure such as schools, clinics, ports and power lines, transport and job opportunities.
The draft plan envisages an approach that moves away from a paradigm of entitlement to a paradigm that promotes the development of capabilities, the creation of opportunities and the participation of all citizens.
South Africa has the means, the goodwill, the people and the resources to eliminate poverty and reduce inequality but it will require leadership from all sectors of society, a capable state and a social pact.
After a period of four months of public engagement and refinement, the President will initiate a process whereby Cabinet considers the refined plan. Once it is passed, it will be a plan for all South Africans irrespective of race, creed, class or political affiliation - a plan which will cultivate the values of a caring society.