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​Ms Maropene Ramokgopa






DATE: 29 MARCH 2023

Accelerating the Implementation of the National Development Plan, establishing coherence in three sphere planning, delineating key priorities for implementation during the final year of the sixth dispensation


Programme Director, Honourable Sylvia Lucas, the Deputy Chairperson, National Council of Provinces

Honourable Paul Mashatile, the Deputy President of the Republic of South Africa

Ministers and Deputy Ministers,

Members of the National Assembly,

Members of the National Council of Provinces,

Premiers from provinces,

Members from the provincial legislature, 

Commissioners of the National Planning Commission,

Government officials,

Ladies and gentlemen,



We are fast approaching the end of the Medium Term Strategic Framework (MTSF) 2019-2024, a development planning instrument aimed at accelerating the National Development Plan's 2030 vision.


This moment calls for collective monitoring and evaluation from all spheres of government on our ability to meet the seven priorities as set out by the 6th Administration.


Equally, this moment calls for greater inter-departmental coordination between the three spheres of government to build an inclusive economy, improve the capabilities of people and the state, promote transformational leadership and partnerships, and cultivate a culture of active citizenry.


A people-centred approach to planning, budgeting, governance, and social compacting, provides us with the necessary guidance to ensure that decision-making towards a developmental state must centre the development of our people.


Honourable members,

Since the inception of the NDP in 2012, there have been a number of developments through the administrative and technical support of the National Planning Commission (NPC). The second NPC that was appointed in 2015 conducted a number of reviews on the implementation of the NDP thus far with the following observations:


  1. The MTSF is too broad which compromises the ability to adequately align it to the NDP and effectively measure progress with implementation.
  2. There are limitations in focused leadership and institutional capability which hinder strategic support for implementation.
  3. The barriers to resource mobilization limit effective implementation of targets.
  4. There is a lack of coordinated social compacts on how to tackle poverty, unemployment and inequality.
  5. The economic concentration and exclusion remain major structural challenges to development in South Africa.


    Therefore, while economic growth remains a goal in the NDP, growth alone will not undo the stark economic inequalities and poor economic outcomes for millions of South Africans.


    Our NDP must prioritize improved livelihoods as the true measurement of meeting development targets such as economic growth. 


    Honourable members,

    The devastating social and economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic has exposed the underlying socio-economic and governance fault-lines in our society.


    More than anything, it has emphasized the need to strengthen a comprehensive social protection system to respond to the shocks brought by the pandemic. The past three years have highlighted that prioritizing the resilience of our people is critical for the growth and development of our economy.


    To date, there has been a strong emphasis on the role and reliance on the state to achieve the aspirations and vision of the NDP by 2030. While the state remains a critical role-player, the COVID-19 pandemic revealed the power of cross sectoral collaboration in coordinating the country's response to the pandemic. This was demonstrated through collaborations such as the Solidarity Fund.


    It is for this reason that we must amplify our efforts in ensuring the realization of the NDP vision is collaborative across all sectors of society.


    To improve cross sectoral collaboration, we must strengthen the coordination and improve functioning of public institutions and professional public servants at all spheres of government. Through improved coordination and alignment across the three spheres of government, we will be in a better position to address challenges such as political-administrative interference, misaligned budgets and fragmented planning.


    The District Development Model (DDM) becomes an important mechanism to improve the developmental targets as set out in the MTSF and NDP more broadly. To improve the overall coordination of the state, we must ensure we capacitate local government as they remain the first responders in our communities. A strengthened local government leads to improved delivery of basic services, the strengthening of the social wage and ultimately an improvement in public trust and confidence in government.


    Programme director,

    As we draw to the end of the MTSF 2019-2024, I propose the following priorities for the next year including; climate change, economic infrastructure, and growing small businesses.


    Over the past two years climate change has had devastating impacts across parts of our country including the floods in KwaZulu Natal, Eastern Cape, Gauteng and North West; and the wild fires in Western Cape, amongst many.


    We can no longer afford to work in silos.


    Urgent attention is needed to strengthen inter-governmental planning and coordination to minimize the impact of climate change on livelihoods. Climate change has far reaching impacts including, a decrease in foreign investments, the paralysis of local economies and markets, reversal on infrastructure development, increased vulnerabilities to public health disasters, and an overall decline in the quality of livelihoods,   


    It is important that we operationalize the Presidential Climate Commission's Just Transition Framework as adopted by the Cabinet last year throughout the spheres of government. The framework needs to be embedded in our disaster management strategies where restorative, distributive and procedural justice is prioritized. We must recognize the threat that climate change has on several sectors and value-chains including mining, agriculture, the automotive industry, and tourism. This also requires collaborative planning with water intensive industries given the impact of climate change on our scarce water resources.


    It is for this reason that a capacitated and coordinated government, particularly local government, becomes imperative in mitigating the impact of climate change especially on vulnerable groups including women, youth, persons with disabilities, and people living in rural communities. Therefore, we look forward to consulting with the Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (COGTA) to monitor the state of readiness of local governments in disaster management.


    Honourable members,

    The call for inclusive and transformative economic development cannot happen in the absence of economic infrastructure.


    We are faced with mounting pressures as unemployment rates remain high, the cost of living continues to rise, stunted growth in local economies and rolling blackouts. Recent reports have indicated that the effect of load shedding has resulted in food price increases up to 20%. All these factors contribute to an increasing public distrust towards the government and an overall decline in social cohesion. 


    The economic challenges of our country are  compounded by colonialism, apartheid, corruption and the growing economic tensions at a global level. To date, economic exclusion is done on the basis of race, gender, age, geography, and education level, which contributes to the persistent inequality and poverty rates in our country.


    To meaningfully address the economic challenges we face, our interventions need policy and regulatory reforms to redirect investment to SMMEs, township and rural economies to promote economic participation.


    To achieve this, greater coordination is required from all spheres of government to improve the economic infrastructure of our country focusing on uninterrupted power and water supplies, decent roads, access to water, digital technology, and a transport system that works. 

    Equally, the economic infrastructure must also support the basic needs of the labour force.


    Economic reform cannot be carried out by the government alone. We need greater accountability from the private sector to address economic challenges through investment. We recognize that as a government, we have the responsibility to improve investor confidence through the availability of economic infrastructure to accelerate investment from the private sector.


    We urge the National Council of Provinces to exercise your constitutional mandate of oversight to ensure that thorough planning on budgeting is in line with developmental targets including infrastructure development at provincial and local level.


    Programme director,

    As mentioned, high levels of unemployment remain a macro-economic challenge for South Africa. As reflected in the NDP, reducing unemployment is a basic objective. Beyond reducing unemployment, we need to look at integrated strategies to create employment opportunities.


    The NDP envisages that 90% of employment will come from small businesses and entrepreneurs. As it stands, this sector only forms about 15% of our country's economy in comparison with peer countries where it can be as high as 90%.


    In addition to the economic infrastructure challenges facing all businesses, our SMMEs are at even greater risk of underperforming and ultimately closing down due to a number of factors including low capital reserves to mitigate infrastructure challenges.  In addition, SMMEs are faced with an additional burden of navigating excessive red tape simply to start the business.


    It is important that we understand it from the perspective of the entrepreneur. The cost of compliance is often too high and technical for emerging entrepreneurs which sets them back in comparison to their more established market competitors.


    As the government, we must understand the capacitation of SMMEs as a lifeline to addressing the concerning unemployment rates in our country, especially amongst the youth.


    In conclusion,

    We must be reminded that the NDP 2030 vision is not for the government, but it is a vision for South Africa. To drive forward the proposed priorities in the next year, we must cultivate a culture of ownership of the NDP amongst our people.


    This should be facilitated through enhanced advocacy, consultations and dialogues with diverse and representative stakeholders and communities with the goal to promote the broadest ownership of the NDP.


    Through the support of the NCOP, we must have an integrated framework for Social Cohesion where roles and accountability is coordinated across different sectors including provincial and local government, communities and civil society organizations, organized labour, and the private sector.


    We must guard against corruption, institutional instability, and political interference in administration, by focusing on transformational and ethical leadership, effective coordination and promoting citizens' engagement in order to translate public policy and high-level aspirations of the NDP to actual implementation.


    As we analyse our democratic structure that serves to ensure delivery to all in South Africa, we must remain cognisant that we form part of a global community.  It is important that we draw the links between local, provincial and national governments and our role on the continent and in the world.

    In the words of Peter Drucker; “Plans are only good intentions unless they immediately degenerate into hard work".


    We have a lot of work ahead of us in the next year, together we can achieve more and improve the quality of life for our people.


    I thank you. ​


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