Opening Remarks by Minister JT Radebe on the
5th Anniversary of the National Development Plan
12 September 2017
His Excellency, The President of the Republic of South Africa, Mr Jacob G Zuma
The Speaker of the National Assembly, Ms Baleka Mbete
Business leaders present including those from Malawi
National Planning Commission Deputy Chair, Professor Malegapuru Makgoba
National Planning Commissioners
Honoured Guests and all gathered here today
I warmly welcome each and every one of you to this very significant occasion where we are, together, celebrating the 5th Anniversary of the launch of the National Development Plan, Vision 2030 (NDP). The NDP has now settled in our lexicon as the lodestar and bedrock upon which our collective destinies, as South Africans have been pivoted.
Today, we also remember, celebrate and preserve the legacy of one of our heroes, the Black Consciousness Movement leader, intellectual and liberation struggle hero, Mr Stephen Bantu Biko, who died in police custody as a result of police brutality on 12 September 1977. This day marks the 40th anniversary of his passing. On a deeply personal note, it was Biko whose gravitas drew me into the Black Consciousness movement, as we called it back then, into politics and to join the struggle to fight for a free South Africa.
Let me also immediately acknowledge His Excellency, President Jacob Zuma. For, to remind all of us, in 2009 the President did something quite extraordinary which should not pass our notice.
Mr President, you boldly appointed the first National Planning Commission of South Africa with a simple but profound mandate. It was this: When appointing the National Planning Commissioners, to South Africa’s first ever National Planning Commission you asked them to go away, even if for a short while, and dream about what a future South Africa, in 2030 would look like. After that short interlude, you asked them to craft a National Development Plan that would take us, all of us, to that ideal South Africa, that better South Africa and that safer South Africa, that is within the realm of possibility. It is common knowledge that without leaps of imagination or dreaming, we lose the excitement of possibilities and of hope. Dreaming, after all is a form of planning. It is a form of hope.
As we all know now - that task was duly completed. We have South Africa’s first ever National Development Plan, Vision 2030. I want to underscore this point - WE HAVE OUR PLAN. And more- the NDP is being implemented through the Medium Term Strategic Framework 2014-2019. I want to assure all of us today, that the NDP lives with us, in and across government. It is at the core of everything that we do and defines where we wish to get to, by 2030. But, more importantly, what we do with the NDP is up to ALL OF US and it is not just a government plan, alone.
So, today, I want us to agree a reinvigorated “joining of hands”. Let us agree, all of us, together - Government, Business, Labour, NGOs, Academia, the Youth and Women - to put our shoulders to the wheels. We have done it all before and it behoves us to do it again. We now have a clear sense of the destination, it is 2030, and we know that it is, and will be a long, arduous and tough journey that we embarked upon. It was never going to be an easy walk to unhinge and dislodge years of apartheid mayhem, devastation and destruction.
And, it is not about short – termism, it is not necessarily about the here and now; it is about the long term. It is about ensuring that we lay the foundations, position the beacons and navigate the path ahead to 2030. Our progress has not been linear, admittedly, neither has it been stellar. But, now is the time to get together, to press the reset button to be responsive to both the challenges and the opportunities. It requires a colossal effort from all of us government and all its social partners, again.
So, again Mr President, on 17 September 2015 you appointed the second National Planning Commission and noted that the mandate of the new commission will include promoting and advancing the implementation of the NDP across different sectors of society.
Mr President, on behalf of my fellow Commissioners I want to assure you that we are working exceedingly hard, to take your important marching orders forward and to implement the NDP. The Mandate Paper , initiated by the National Planning Commission, approved by Cabinet in August 2017, is one such example of how seriously we take our tasks and the fruits of our efforts. We are also exploring new, effective and better avenues for socio-economic development in our country as we implement the NDP.
Mr President, through the implementation of the NDP we will transform the lives of our people. We aim to ensure that all South Africans attain a decent standard of living through the elimination of poverty, unemployment and reduction of inequality.
Honoured Guests - The country we seek to build by 2030 is just, fair, prosperous and equitable. Yes, we may not be able to change the entire world around us, but at least, we can start by trying with the circles of virtue within our reach, by becoming an active and participatory citizenry, wherever we find ourselves.
The NDP envisions a South Africa where opportunity is determined not by birth, but by ability, education and hard work.
· A country with a health system that provides quality care to all, has raised life expectancy to at least 70 years, has produced a young generation largely free of HIV infection and has dramatically reduced infant mortality.
· A country where people living in South Africa feel safe, have no fear of crime, are properly served by the police and courts, and corruption no longer eats away at their livelihoods.
· A country too, where the economy is inclusive, creates jobs and equips people with the skills they need, ensures the ownership of production is more diverse and able to grow rapidly.
· A country where higher education and vocational training produces highly skilled graduates, ready to meet both the present and future needs of economy and society.
· A country where rural communities are able to fully participate in the economic, social and political life of the country.
· A country where the terrible spatial legacy of apartheid has finally been broken and South Africans have humane and environmentally sustainable living and working conditions.
· A country where the state institutions are well-run and effectively coordinated, run by professionals committed to the public good and capable of delivering consistently high-quality services.
All South Africans should now work together, again and ensure we are implementing the NDP. The successful implementation of this plan requires strong leadership from all of us. It is this leadership that puts the country's collective interests ahead of narrow, short-term goals, and radically improve government performance. South Africans need to work together in their communities to advance development, resolve problems and raise the concerns of the voiceless and marginalised. We also need to work together to hold ourselves accountable for our actions.
South Africans need to recreate the future, starting today. The NDP is a call to action to unite as a country and identifies the role different sectors of society need to play in reaching its goal. The plan is about our dreams and aspirations and actionable steps to achieve them. It identifies the role different sectors of society need to play in reaching the desired destination; and we have to play our part. South Africa needs active and responsible citizens who care about their country and who will contribute towards building the country we want to live in. We need to build on the gains made by mobilising the private sector and other social partners to play a stronger role in moving our country forward.
We must imagine what our future could be, ideal in every respect, and then we must go to work, each and every day toward realising our Plan, our Vision, the goals and the purpose. The NDP is it! It established the destination by defining what we want. Now we need to take the actions and make the choices that move us towards that destination. Indeed, the possibility for our success is limitless and our arrival at the destination is inevitable. Let us join our hands, and bring hope, again?
It now gives me a great honour and extreme pleasure to introduce to you all gathered here today - His Excellency, President JG Zuma to share some of his thoughts with us. Mr President, this is your legacy – The National Development Plan, Vision 2030. I invite you to share some thoughts with all of us gathered here today.