President Jacob Zuma has applauded the country’s first National Development Plan which aims to make a better life for all by eliminating poverty and reducing inequality by 2030. The ambitious plan, which will still be finalised and put to Cabinet, was presented by Minister for Planning in the Presidency Trevor Manuel in Pretoria on Friday.
The commission’s vision 2030 statement aims to assist the country to reduce its high unemployment rate to 14% in 2030 by growing the economy by around 5% annually. In receiving the plan, Zuma commended the commissioners for putting the elimination of poverty and reduction of inequality at the heart of their plan, the state BuaNews agency reports. “These two challenges, plus the need to eliminate illiteracy, are the ones that most South Africans feel most strongly about. Any plan that fails to talk directly to the needs of our people, the needs of the poorest of our people, will not be good enough for our country,” he said.
The President was further happy that nation building and social cohesion had been identified as both key outcomes of the plan and critical for the achievement of the objectives, BuaNews says. “It is essential that we capture the balance in our Constitution to build a prosperous, non-racial, non-sexist and democratic South Africa. We thank all South Africans for participating in this exciting process.”
However, hard work lay ahead in the realisation of the plan’s goals, considering the depressed global economy and rich countries being unable to muster the political consensus to resolve these problems. Zuma said now it was up to the citizens of the country to refine the plan through public engagement before going to Cabinet. “Once we have finalised the long-term plan … it will be a plan for all of our people irrespective of race, creed, class or political affiliation. It will be a plan for all of our people irrespective of race, creed, class or political affiliation.
“Once it is adopted, all departments, provinces, municipalities and indeed all sectors of society must take the overall ownership and drive its implementation.”
The National Development Plan has set out proposals to address the most pressing problems facing South Africa by 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. The draft plan addresses 13 key challenges and proposes:
- Creating jobs and livelihoods
- Expanding infrastructure
- Transitioning to a low carbon economy
- Transforming urban and rural spaces
- Improving education and training
- Providing quality healthcare
- Building a capable state
- Fighting corruption and enhancing accountability
- Transforming society and uniting the nation
- Creating an inclusive and integrated rural economy
- Broadening social protection
- Building safer communities
- Enhancing South Africa’s role in relation to the region and the world
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,” said Manuel.
Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe said he appreciated the commissioners’ bravery on 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.