The NDP is the only game in town

2013-03-10 10:00

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ANC deputy president Cyril Ramaphosa has recently urged citizens to read and know the National Development Plan (NDP) as they do the Constitution. Carien du Plessis spoke to him about the plan’s future

What is the way forward for the NDP? Is there any hope?

I was really encouraged when I heard the president in his state of the nation address, speaking about the centrality and importance of the NDP.

And I also heard the finance minister, Pravin Gordhan, saying much of what he puts forward is in the NDP.

The NDP is about making sure that we eradicate poverty, we reduce the level of unemployment and that we also deal with the level of inequality.

What to me is also encouraging is that with Cabinet having endorsed the NDP, the minister of performance monitoring and evaluation (Collins Chabane) is now going to synthesise it, go through it and evaluate what needs to be done by the departments.

That means we have now brought the NDP into the sectoral work of departments.

Do you actually feel that ministers have read the document?

I’ve been pleasantly surprised to find that many ministers have read the NDP and have said ‘no, this issue had not been properly addressed by the NDP. This is not how it should be done’.

It means that ministers are engaging with the NDP, whereas one would have doubted whether ministers would, in the end, embrace it.

The National Planning Commission (NPC) itself, they have got a role to play. They are now going to be doing further research on the work of the commission to make sure that they implement the NDP.

So the NPC will still be around?

The NPC is still alive and we will still be around for another two years I think, and then the president will have to decide.

But my take is he (the president) values the work the NPC has done, he’s the one who said he wanted a blueprint. And I think this was a phenomenal initiative on the president’s part because nobody can claim that he knows it all.

And it was his initiative going around the world talking to other leaders and seeing that they have a plan and we too need our own plan.

So bingo, we’ve got a plan.

Cosatu isn’t really keen on the NDP, are you afraid they might stall it?

No, I’m not scared. I think when they see the programme of implementation unfold, they will sit up as well and say ‘oh, this thing is slightly different from what we thought’.

Not everyone will be as enthusiastic, let’s face it, some will have a measure of scepticism because we’ve had a number of programmes.

We’ve had (the growth plan) Gear; we’ve had Asgisa; we’ve had the (new) growth path, IPAP (Industrial Policy Action Plan) and so on; and one has a measure of understanding about that.

This is the first time that we will have a plan that has been highlighted so importantly by the head of government.

It is the first time that all political parties endorse the plan, and it is the first time the ANC has come up so strongly on a plan.

I think there is much to be hopeful about.

There is no alternative plan, if those who are doubtful and opposed to it could table an alternative plan that is cohesive, coherent and actionable, then I would say put it on the table and let’s see.

But right now, the NDP is the only plan in town.

Are you enjoying your return to politics?

There are moments (he laughs)?.?.?.?But you know I still miss the cut and thrust of doing a deal, I still miss that.

The other day I was being told of a deal and I phoned this one and that one and it was just?.?.?.?was just adrenaline.

It was moving in me, but ja.

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