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Zuma talks up NDP's 'achievements' at anniversary bash

September 12, 2017 7:12 PM
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Cape Town - President Jacob Zuma talked up the adoption of the National Development Plan at a five-year anniversary bash, and did not mention radical economic transformation once.

Zuma and Cabinet colleagues celebrated the adoption of the plan in Cape Town on Tuesday, labelling it the "roadmap to prosperity" for the country, opting for its desired outcome to be "inclusive economic growth".

He called it "one of the most important achievements" of our country, and it was fitting its adoption took place on the anniversary of struggle activist Steve Biko's death.

"It was important to develop a plan that was not associated with one political party. We wanted a plan that was accepted by all South Africans," Zuma said.

Zuma said its creation was necessary to fill two gaps in government at the start of his first administration: planning and performance monitoring.

Part of the reason the NDP was adopted five years ago was to combat the high levels of crime and unemployment in 2012. Both statistics have gone up since then.

"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 changed the fundamental structure and ownership patterns of our economy.

"Too many people need jobs to support themselves and their families are still unemployed."

The fruits of freedom since 1994 have tended to be enjoyed by a few. The fundamental challenge is to grow the economy in a manner that is inclusive.

"We need to fundamentally change the structure and systems of the economy in favour of all South Africans.

"There can be no prosperity for some while the majority languish in poverty."

The current mid-term budget identified 14 priorities to achieve through to 2019, which includes education and health care improvement.

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 change.

Zuma said they would use the budget to pursue "inclusive economic growth". Cabinet has directed the department to work with the economic cluster.

"This is an important step because the NDP will remain an empty promise as long as its noble goals are not met with a budget commitment.

There was a big emphasis on the implementation of the plan on the night, five years after having been adopted in Parliament.

Former finance minister Trevor Manuel, who had led the process in formulating the plan, was not present at the meeting, nor contributed to the video introduction.

National Assembly Speaker Baleka Mbete also spoke on the night. She said the NDP's adoption in Parliament marked a milestone for building consensus on how to battle the trio of poverty, unemployment and inequality.

She also said the NDP should be slowly integrated into standard budget processes, Parliament's budget office recommended.

Minister in the Presidency Jeff Radebe said the NDP was about the long-term, and navigating the path to 2030.

"Now is the time to get together and press the reset button to be responsive to challenges and opportunities."


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