Following months of public consultation and revision, the National Development Plan 2030 has been handed over to President Jacob Zuma by the Chairperson of the National Planning Commission, Minister Trevor Manuel.
The handover of the thick document was conducted during a joint sitting of both Houses in Parliament on Wednesday. Cabinet, led by the President, will now consider the plan, adopt the key recommendations in the plan and begin implementation.
A draft of the plan was released by the Commission in November last year and six months of public consultation followed. The Commission has now revised the document with inputs from South Africans from all walks of life, business, labour, government departments, provinces, state-owned enterprises and agencies.
“This is a historic occasion… This plan is the product of thousands of inputs and perspectives of South Africans. It is a plan for a better future, a future in which no person lives in poverty, where no one goes hungry, where there is work for all,” said Manuel ahead of the handover.
He said the plan was about the actions that all South Africans must take to secure the future chartered in the Constitution.
The revised document, entitled “Our future – make it work”, focuses on the elimination of poverty by reducing the proportion of households with a monthly income below R419 per person from 39 percent to zero, and reducing inequality.
The plans also set goals such as increasing employment from 13 million in 2010 to 24 million in 2030; ensuring skilled technical, professional and managerial posts reflect the country’s racial, disability and gender profile; broadening the country’s ownership of assets to historically disadvantaged groups; increasing the quality of education so that all children have at least two years of pre-school education and that all children in Grade 3 can read and write; provide affordable access to healthcare; effective public transport and access to clean running water, among others.
Manuel said during the consultation process, it emerged that there was an incredible amount of goodwill that needed to be tapped into; however, there were problems in the country that needed strong leadership, such as joblessness, children who cannot read or count, services that do not function and public officials that are uncaring.
The plan emphasises the need for a strategy to address poverty and its impacts by broadening access to employment, strengthening the social wage, improving public transport and raising rural incomes.
The plan also outlines the steps that need to be taken by the state to professionalise the public service, strengthen accountability, improve coordination and prosecute corruption.
It says private investment should be boosted in labour-intensive areas, competitiveness and exports. There also needs to be jobs located where people live, informal settlements must be upgraded and housing market gaps fixed.
The plan suggests that public infrastructure investment should be set at 10 percent of the gross domestic product.
It says that crime can be reduced by strengthening the criminal justice system and improving community environments.
The document says the National Health Insurance should be phased in with a focus on upgrading public health facilities, producing more health professionals and reducing the relative cost of private healthcare.
“The methodology used in the plan was to set overarching objectives, to set key targets for various sectors and to make recommendations on how these targets can be achieved,” explained Manuel.
There are six pillars to the plan: uniting all South Africans around a common programme to achieve prosperity and equity; promoting active citizenry to strengthen development, democracy and accountability; bringing about faster economic growth, higher investment and greater labour absorption; focusing on key capabilities of people and the state; building a capable and development state, and encouraging strong leadership throughout society to work together to solve problems.
Manuel said that there were linkages between the goals in the plan.
“Better quality schooling will make it easier for young people to access the labour market. But it also enables workers to improve their productivity, to learn faster on the job and to raise their incomes and living standards.”
He added that good public transport would help people search for work over a wider area, help get them to work faster and more cheaply, but it would also assist in permitting people to live fuller lives with more family and recreation time.
Manuel said the National Planning Commission would now turn its attention to mobilising society to support the plan and conducting research on critical issues affecting long term development and advise government and social partners on the implementation of the plan.
The African National Congress welcomed the plan and commended the Commission for the work it had done. The Democratic Alliance also welcomed the plan, saying it hoped government would align its programmes to the goals contained in it.
Although the IFP said it supported the plan and congratulated Manuel, it was concerned that the plan would not be implemented efficiently.