Johannesburg, 20 September 2018 – South Africa’s National Development Plan (NDP) was still relevant despite the slow pace of its implementation, Minister in the Presidency Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma said at the Southern African Metals and Engineering Indaba this afternoon.
“We have not made sufficient progress as far as eradicating the triple challenges of unemployment, poverty and inequality, but we still feel strongly that the NDP is still relevant but needs to be approached differently, with us having learned from the last six years. We also think that there was an oversight to think we could implement without breaking it down into five-year implementation plans. This is what we will begin to do with the remaining years of the NDP. We will also use the last two years of the plan to monitor and evaluate,” Dr Dlamini-Zuma said.
Going forward, the Minister said Government needed to improve planning generally, not only across all departments, but also across different spheres of Government.
“Lack of integrated planning slows down projects and makes implementation harder. It is not easy to implement when we have not planned together,” Dr Dlamini-Zuma said.
The Minister said the Government has realized that it had too many priorities. Going forward, it would ensure that there were fewer priorities that would have maximum impact.
“What we have also realized is that it would not be enough to align planning across spheres and departments, but we also need the private sector to play a role in the actual planning of the NDP. Lots of activities such as the creation of jobs and growing the economy will be driven by the private sector, so we have to touch base with the private sector as we plan and implement the NDP,” she said.
She said collaboration with the private sector would also not be enough if the country is not producing the skills required for the implementation of the infrastructure project within the NDP.
“It is, therefore, equally important that at some point we also involve institutions responsible for the production of skills because there is currently a mismatch between the skills required by the labour market and the skills produced by institutions of higher learning,” she said.
Dr Dlamini-Zuma said partnerships and collaboration needed to be strengthened at sector-specific level. She said that, as part of monitoring and evaluating, the Government would look at specific targets and timelines, but cautioned that that could only be achieved by a capable State with people with relevant skills.
In conclusion, Minister Dlamini Zuma said the economy needed not only growth in terms of GDP, but also to find ways of creating jobs and reducing poverty and inequality
Manufacturing Circles CEO Philippa Rodseth said she concurred with the Minister that there was a mismatch between the skills demanded by the economy and the skills produced. She also concurred that better collaborations between business, policy makers and institutions of learning was important for better implementation of the NDP.
Professor Patrick Bond of the Wits Business School cautioned against the prioritization of projects that would have little benefit for the country, but would create opportunities for corruption. He also warned against Chinese colonization of the country.
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