Radebe calls for renewed NDP push

Minister in the Presidency Jeff Radebe on Tuesday called for a renewed implementation of the National Development Plan (NDP).

Delivering an address at the AGM of the Black Management Forum‚ Radebe‚ who is the Chairperson of the National Planning Commission‚ set out the successes and the failures of the government since 1994.

Among successes‚ he said the “Black middle has been the fastest economically progressing segment of the South African population‚ rising in number from 1.7 million individuals in 2004 to estimates of over 4.2 million currently”.

Among the failures‚ he referred to “disappointing progress” in the transfer of economic assets such as agricultural land‚ the failure to create jobs and the high rate of unemployment‚ and the low rate of Black ownership of productive assets.

Quoting from sociologist Thomas Piketty’s recent address during the Nelson Mandela Memorial Lecture‚ he said that Piketty estimated “that the share of total income going to the top 10% income earners in South Africa … is between 60 and 65%...” compared with 50 to 55% in Brazil‚ 40 to 45% in the US‚ and 30 to 35% in most European countries.

“The ownership of productive assets in the South African economy is shrouded in secrecy‚” said Radebe. “The JSE puts the figure of Black ownership of the top 100 companies at 23%‚ which include indirect ownership by pension funds and empowerment schemes.”

The theme of the AGM‚ Realising Transformation Dividends through Courageous Leadership‚ prompted Radebe to set out examples of courageous leadership‚ such as in the defeat of apartheid‚ in the drawing up of the new constitution‚ and in the drawing up of the NDP.

Regarding inequality‚ he said: “The combination of poor economic performance‚ high unemployment rate‚ concentration of asset ownership in a few hands‚ accounts for the high level of income inequality in South Africa.”

Radebe emphasised that the implementation of the NDP would improve South Africa’s prospects‚ and set out “six interlinked priorities of the NDP‚ which serve as the pillars of the Plan‚ namely”:

- Uniting all South Africans around a common programme to achieve prosperity and equity;

- Promoting active citizenry to strengthen development‚ democracy and accountability;

- Bringing about faster economic growth‚ higher investment and greater labour absorption;

- Focusing on key capabilities of people and the state;

- Building a capable and developmental state; and

- Encouraging strong leadership throughout society to work together to solve problems.

Radebe said the NDP would serve as the path to bring into being a more equitable society. “The NDP provides us with the tools to tackle these persisting challenges and complexities of transformation. The plan paints a picture of a country we want to live in by 2030‚ and outlines the actions and measures we need to take in order to achieve our vision. It outlines the physical‚ human and institutional capabilities necessary to ensure socio-economic transformation. It highlights the importance of clarifying roles and responsibilities of different actors in government and society‚ to ensure effective implementation.

“In this sense‚ the NDP is not the plan of government or the ruling party. It is a plan for South Africa which is inclusive of all sections of society‚ where the state has a specific role to play‚ relative to the roles of others‚” said Radebe.