Cape Town - President Jacob Zuma on Monday evening said that implementing the National Development Plan (NDP) was still government policy, but offered few details on how this was being done.
Zuma was speaking in Cape Town on the 5th anniversary of the adoption of the NDP in September 2012.
The plan is the government’s long-term overarching blueprint to grow the economy and decrease poverty.
It aims to eliminate poverty and reduce inequality by 2030 through the creation of a “virtuous cycle of growth and development”.
The government has however been criticised for not implementing the plan.
Official plan of action
On Monday evening at a gala dinner, Zuma said the NDP had been “mainstreamed and is the government's programme of action”.
In a 40-minute speech, he spoke more about the type of country the plan hopes to achieve in 2030, than how the plan is being implemented at the moment.
“(The plan) envisages a growing economy that is responsive to the demands of a fast changing world, that does not only benefit the few. It should be an economy where all share in the country's wealth,” he said.
The president also spoke more generally about the need to change the ownership pattern of the economy.
“Too many people are still unemployed. The fruits of economic growth that we have experienced have tended to be enjoyed by a few.
The fundamental challenge we face is to grow the economy in a manner that is inclusive,” he said.
The country needed to “fundamentally change” patterns of ownership, management and control in favour of all South Africans, particularly poor black South Africans, said the president.
“There can be no prosperity for some while the majority languishes in poverty. We will utilise all the levers of power to significantly enhance the level of ownership of the private sector by black people,” he said.
Five years of the NDP
The NDP was presented to Zuma by then Minister for Planning in the Presidency Trevor Manuel in August 2012, who at the time referred to it as South Africa’s “plan for our collective future.”
This after Zuma set up a National Planning Commission during his first term in office to come up with a long-term goal for the country.
The 440-page NDP was adopted as the government's official “vision” for South Africa in 2030, and generally praised by opposition parties.
On Monday Zuma said that, from the outset, the NDP wasn't the ANC’s plan but a broad vision for all South Africans.
While the government has been accused of not implementing it, it also been criticised from the left, including by first deputy SACP secretary general Jeremy Cronin.
In 2013 Cronin argued that Manuel was “ill-advisedly seeking to cast the NDP in stone,” saying the plan was more or a “vision” than a roadmap.
In late 2014, then-general secretary of Cosatu Zwelinzima Vavi referred in a speech to the plan as having “conservative, free-market, neo-liberal economic policies” at its heart, adding that Cosatu wanted to rewrite it.
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