Address by His Excellency President Jacob Zuma on the occasion of the 5th anniversary of the adoption of the National Development Plan, Cape Town
The Speaker of the National Assembly, Ms Baleka Mbete,
The Minister in the Presidency and Chairperson of the National Planning Commission, Mr Jeff Radebe,
Ministers and Deputy Ministers,
Members of Parliament,
Members of the National Planning Commission,
Members of the diplomatic corps,
Fellow South Africans,
It is an honour for me to address you on this historic occasion, the fifth anniversary celebration of the National Development Plan.
Five years ago, on the 12th of September 2012, South Africans from difference political persuasions adopted our country’s socio-economic blueprint as the roadmap towards prosperity or our country, the National Development Plan. The adoption of the NDP was thus one of the most important achievements of our country.
We also meet on an important day in the history of our country. Forty years ago on the same day, 12 September, a selfless freedom fighter and leader of the Black Consciousness Movement, Mr Stephen Bantu Biko, died after enduring brutal torture at the hands of the apartheid police.
The callous murder of Steve Biko on this day should be a solemn reminder that our freedom was not free. It came at a huge price.
Steve Biko and other martyrs of our liberation struggle paid the ultimate price and made a supreme sacrifice so that all of us could live in a free and democratic society that we enjoy today.
May his spirit live on among us, reminding us that we are equal human beings as he advocated. His words live on, that whites are not superior and blacks are not inferior. We are equal human beings, equal South Africans.
It is that equal, inclusive and prosperous society that we seek to build when we implement the National Development Plan.
The NDP has a rich history. One of the key objectives of the fourth administration when we came into office, was to ensure that we fill two gaps in government – planning as well as performance monitoring and evaluation. We needed these two functions to be mainstreamed within the administration.
It is for this reason that I established a Ministry responsible for the National Planning Commission, and also appointed a National Planning Commission.
I also established a Ministry and Department responsible for performance monitoring and evaluation.
This was one of the most important decisions for government.
The National Planning Commission was tasked with developing a long-term strategic plan for the country.
Instead of appointing government officials as members of the NPC, we decided that our Commission must be made up of experts drawn from the broader civil society.
The only criterion that I considered when appointing Commissioners was that they had to possess proven expertise and experience in areas that were critical for formulating the NDP.
We thought it was fundamentally important not to produce a government plan, or a plan associated with one political party. We wanted a national development plan that would be accepted and owned by all South Africans.
After an extensive public consultation process that involved multiple stakeholders, including state entities, the private sector, civil society and labour, the team developed a well-crafted plan.
I must take this opportunity to commend all those who contributed to the development of NDP. Most importantly, we applaud the members of the public who actively participated during the public consultation process and made the NDP a good plan that it is today.
The NDP covers a wide variety of areas, from the economy to security, from strengthening the capacity of the state to reducing the high levels of crime and corruption.
The NDP tells us and the world where our country should be in 2030. Our vision as contained in the NDP is for a South Africa in which those who seek employment will be employed.
It should be a country in which the youth will have access to quality education.
We are striving for a society in which citizens will live healthy, long lives, a place where there is no fear of criminals and where all live safely and securely. We are building a country with a capable state that supports citizens to fulfil their dreams and freely express their talents.
It envisages a growing economy that is responsive to the demands of a fast changing world, an economy that does not only benefit the few.
It should be an economy where all share in the country’s wealth.
Government has turned the NDP into a five year implementation plan, the Medium Term Strategic Framework. The current MTSF, 2014—2019, has fourteen outcomes, which include education, health, safety and security, inclusive economic growth, job creation, infrastructure development, nation building and social cohesion, amongst others.
In this manner, the NDP has been mainstreamed and is the government’s programme of action. The new National Planning Commission, also comprising experts from various fields, is tasked with ensuring the effective implementation of the NDP. They will advise us where there are deficiencies so that we can plan and implement better.
Since we started implementing the NDP, we have marked progress in a number of areas.
More people live longer than before, life expectancy has improved. A lot more children are at school getting the education whose quality is gradually improving.
The progress is however uneven across sectors. The reach of the basic services has not fully reached all citizens, especially those who live in the rural areas. Government thus continues to work daily, to expand the reach of water, electricity, roads, housing and other services to the people.
One key area in which the long shadow of apartheid has not fully retreated is the economy.
We have created a relatively large black middle class which is actively involved in the economic life of our nation. However, this achievement has not fundamentally transformed the structure and ownership patterns of the economy.
Too many people who need jobs to support themselves and their families are still unemployed.
The fruits of the economic growth that we have experienced since the advent of our freedom in 1994 have tended to be enjoyed by a few.
The fundamental challenge we face, which is the principal goal that is identified in the NDP, is to grow the economy in a manner that is inclusive.
To reiterate what we have said before, we need to fundamentally change the structure, systems, institutions and patterns of ownership, management and control of the economy in favour of all South Africans, especially the poor, the majority of whom are African and female.
Our collective prosperity depends on all of us working together to bring about this fundamental change. There can be no prosperity for some while the majority languishes in poverty. That is a reality we must all accept.
Given that approximately 75% of the economy is in the hands of the private sector, we need the commitment of both government and business to effect fundamental change.
For our part as government, we will utilise all the levers of power at our disposal to significantly enhance the level of ownership of the private sector by black people.
This will entail deploying the regulatory power of the state as well as targeted incentives to induce appropriate change.
We will use the budget to pursue the goal of inclusive economic growth.
Cabinet has directed the Department of Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation to work with the Economic Cluster of government departments to ensure that there is alignment between the priorities in the NDP and the budget. This is an important step because the NDP will remain an empty promise as long as its noble goals are not matched with budget commitments.
We are also taking other concrete steps to implement the NDP. Through the implementation of Operation Phakisa, our Big Fast Results programme, we have developed very specific interventions in the Oceans Economy, Health, Education, Mining and Agriculture sectors.
Operation Phakisa programmes in the Ocean Economy, for example, have since 2014, unlocked seven billion rand in investments and created more than six thousand jobs.
Government is also implementing incentives and support services for investors through the Special Economic Zones programme.
The six Industrial Development Zones established between 2002 and 2014 have attracted a total of 59 investors on site with an investment value of more than ten billion rand.
These achievements demonstrate that working together we can indeed do more. It is the same collective effort which made it possible for all of us to build a new nation from the ashes of apartheid.
It is by working together that our GDP grew in real terms from 1.6 trillion rand in 1994 to just over three trillion rand in 2015.
Employment has grown from 9.5 million people in 1994 to 16 million people at the end of 2015.
Access to housing and basic services has improved through the construction of four million new houses since 1994, increasing connections to electricity to 95% of the households and piped water to 85% of households.
It is by working together that we can build on the 2.5% economic growth that was recorded in the last quarter to a sustainable growth path that can create jobs for the millions who are unemployed.
Each one of us will have to play a role if we are to bring about a South Africa which is envisaged in the NDP.
This year we also remember and promote the legacy of one of the most outstanding leaders of our country, Oliver Reginald Tambo whose entire adult life was spent trying to make South Africa a better place to live in for all. He would have turned 100 years old this year, had he lived.
Let us implement the NDP in honour of OR Tambo, and help achieve the society that he dreamed of.
We congratulate all who continue to make the NDP a living document, and to implement it in every sector of society.
I am happy to join you all, to say Happy fifth anniversary to the National Development Plan!
I thank you.