Minister in the Presidency Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma on Thursday called for greater collaboration between the public and private sectors in South Africa as she announced that the National Development Plan (NDP) would be divided into smaller plans that would be attended to within five-year timeframes, starting in 2019.
The NDP was adopted in 2012 and called for the unemployment rate to decrease to 6% and sustained economic growth of 5.4% to be achieved by 2030.
Speaking to delegates at the fourth NDP lecture, held at University of South Africa’s (Unisa’s) Pretoria campus, she explained that the NDP would be broken into smaller segments of five years, instead of having the entire NDP implemented at once.
“We will break the NDP into smaller chunks of five years instead of just implementing the entire NDP. We will outline the things we want to achieve over each five-year period,” she said, lamenting that planning laws were scattered and that a lot of cooperation would be needed from every government department.
Agriculture, industrialisation, infrastructure, tourism, services, creative economies, gender equality and the youth are some of the main focus areas, Dlamini-Zuma noted, adding that she believed these “will make the biggest impact”.
Essentially, she highlighted that radical socioeconomic transformation should be about changing radically in parts, and should span across the economy, structure, systems, institutions, ownership, management and control, in favour of the majority of South Africans.
Dlamini-Zuma pointed out that, up until now, access to basic education has increased to 98%, while 95% of South African households are now connected to electricity.
South Africa has also reduced its infant mortality rate and increased life expectancy; however, she lamented that the country has not done well in addressing unemployment, which, according to the most recent figures, stands at 27.2%.
“Where we haven’t done relatively well is with unemployment rates, and poverty and inequality persist,” she said.
A lack of access to land, infrastructure gaps, a skills deficit and a lack of transformation in the financial services sector are some of the biggest challenges facing radical socioeconomic transformation, Dlamini-Zuma noted.
“The presence of infrastructure facilitates economic growth, but its absence inhibits it. We need to look sector by sector to create new jobs and new entrants into that sector. Government should create an environment that can do that,” she added.
Also affecting this transformation, Dlamini-Zuma said, is a tendency among South Africans that when things go wrong, new policies are requested. “We should stay the course, not chop and change from one policy to another,” she said.
While planning is essential in achieving the NDP’s goals set out for 2030, she further noted that implementation and integration between all sectors was essential in ensuring that this radical socioeconomic transformation for inclusive growth and development took place.
Meanwhile, Unisa principal and vice-chancellor Professor Mandla Makhanya spoke on behalf of the university and reiterated the university’s commitment to ongoing engagement with government in meaningful collaboration and to the alignment of Unisa’s vision with that of the NDP.