President Jacob Zuma held an initial meeting with the newly appointed members of the National Planning Commission (NPC) at the Union Buildings in Pretoria on Thursday.
Emerging after the meeting, Zuma told journalists that the commissioners had a vital role to play as independent thinkers and advisors.
“We are very happy. We think we are at one, regarding where we are going. We emphasised that the commissioners are an important window in the work of the country because they are there to say to all of us, the things we need to do,” said Zuma.
“They are there to think, not from a biased point of view but from an independent point of view, without fear or favour. They must raise issues that must take South Africa forward. That is what we expect from them. They have agreed and are at work already. We are very happy.”
Zuma said the ideas coming from the new commissioners “are very encouraging” already.
Deputy Chairperson of the commission, Professor Malegapuru William Makgoba, said his team’s work would be apolitical and unbiased.
“We’ve been given our marching orders clearly and there is no ambiguity. We work independently, for the nation of South Africa. We work together with many stakeholders including you (the media) to make our country successful, proud and to be productive,” said Makgoba.
“We serve no political party. We serve the country and the nation of South Africa to realise the 2030 vision that was decided by the nation in 2012.”
Chairperson of the commission, Minister in the Presidency, Jeff Radebe said the meeting at the Union Buildings on Thursday was the first gathering of the commission since the commission was appointed in September.
A statement from the Presidency said “national priorities and the implementation of the acclaimed National Development Plan” were some of the items discussed at the closed-door meeting.
The NPC was established to promote and institute long term planning in government. The first NPC team developed the NDP, considered South Africa’s socio-economic blueprint until 2030.