South Africa's National Development Plan (NDP), introduced by the government almost six years ago, is the product of President Jacob Zuma. "When I became president, I appointed Trevor Manuel to put a team together to draft a development plan for South Africa; various stakeholders were tasked to deliver what we as government now implement: the NDP,” Zuma said on Thursday in an exclusive interview with Independent Media on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Durban.
“The National Planning Commission was formed as a result of my questions: Do we have a plan for the defence force, for national intelligence, for our water crises, and many other important sectors of the economy,” Zuma said. “The answer was no.”
Manuel, later appointed Minister in the Presidency in 2011, was tasked with putting together a team to advise on issues impacting on the country’s development.
“The commission had the licence to be honest, bold, cut through the silos of government and take on board the views of all South Africans. It also requires us to be humble, never pretending that we have a monopoly on wisdom. This is a proposed development plan, subject to public comment and criticism,” Manuel stated at the launch of the NDP.
The work of the commission did not stop in 2011. “Our team is a five-year one, and requires the commission to deepen the planning process, cover areas that we have been unable to cover,” Manuel said.
Since the NDP was adopted as formal government economic policy, various business leaders have praised it as an excellent economic policy.
However, analysts, business, labour, and international rating agencies have in recent months questioned the successful implementation of the NDP.
“The vision of the NDP presented in 2011 was a process of charting a new path for our country; at the core of the plan is a focus on capabilities; the capabilities of people and of creating opportunities for both,” Zuma said.
“By 2030 we seek to eliminate poverty and reduce inequality. We seek a country wherein all citizens have the capabilities to grasp the ever-broadening opportunities available; our plan is to change the lives of millions of our people, especially the youth.”
Zuma confirmed the government was committed to monitor the implementation of the NDP and the impact it has had on economic growth, job creation, poverty reduction, economic development, socio-economic development, investor, business and consumer confidence, service delivery, corporate governance and environmental development.
Government recently stated: “We have no choice but to seize the nettle, use our resilience, and dig deep to find the reservoirs of goodwill and common national interest to map a common road forward.”
The NDP states 11 million more jobs need to be created by 2030, the labour-intensive manufacturing and export sectors need to be expanded, money has to be allocated to key infrastructure projects as an enabler for job creation, and the quality of education and skills development is crucial, and ownership of production should be less concentrated and more diverse.
"Be assured Zuma believes South Africa is strong enough and creative enough to overcome its economic challenges and ensure a better life for all. Masupatsela! We chart a new course, we write a new story."