OPENING KEYNOTE ADDRESS BY MS. MAROPENE RAMOKGOPA, MINISTER IN
THE PRESIDENCY FOR PLANNING, MONITORING, AND EVALUATION
AT THE NATIONAL PLANNING SUMMIT
29 SEPTEMBER 2023
Programme Director, Commissioner Dr. Pulane Molokwane,
Professor Tinyiko Maluleke, Deputy Chairperson of the National
Past and present Commissioners of the National Planning
Dr Kefiloe Masiteng, Secretary of the National Planning
Senior officials of the NPC and DPME,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
I am excited to join you today at this timely and important National Planning Summit convened under the overarching theme "Long-term Planning in South Africa: A Call to Action."
The Summit builds on deliberations from the 2018 Planning Forum hosted by the second National Planning Commission in partnership with the Department of Planning, Monitoring, and Evaluation (DPME). The aim of the Forum was to have this as an annual event to discuss national development and long-term planning.
I wish to reassure you that reforming, institutionalizing, and strengthening our country's planning systems remains a priority of the state in ensuring the delivery of the developmental imperatives of our country.
In my past experience of serving at the local government level, I can attest to the crucial role of thorough planning to guide the developmental trajectory and ensure improved delivery of services to our people. Without a clear, responsive, and budgeted plan, we ultimately plan to fail.
There have been significant measures undertaken to develop our country's planning systems in relation to our growing democracy and people's needs.
Initially, South Africa's planning framework was characterized by five-year strategic plans under the Medium-Term Strategic Framework (MTSF) which are expected to be implemented annually. In 2009, we took the bold decision to begin the process of developing a long-term national plan that will be supported by the appraisal and institutionalization of all the government's plans beyond the audit of budgets.
During the same period, we had the Ministry of Planning and the Ministry of Monitoring and Evaluation. The Ministries were later amalgamated into one in 2014.
This Ministry played a crucial role in the establishment of the National Planning Commission (NPC) in 2010. Through collaborative efforts, the National Development Plan (NDP), a long-term development plan for South Africa, was developed and later adopted in Parliament as the lodestar to guide the country's development trajectory in 2012.
Above all, there was a clear understanding that the NDP is not designed for Government implementation only, it is to be the Plan for the country.
The NDP is informed by wide-ranging and comprehensive consultations, research produced, and the lived realities of millions of South Africans. Most importantly, the NDP aims to provide solutions and outlines the role of various sectors in addressing the country's most pressing developmental challenges that are shaped by the right-based approach of the Constitution which emphasizes ensuring dignity and providing equal access to opportunities to all people.
Our recent assessment and review of the ten years since the adoption of the NDP suggests that we have not succeeded in shifting the needle on the three triple challenges identified by the NDP, namely: eliminating poverty and reducing inequality and unemployment.
In fact, the review indicates that there has been marginal improvement across the key areas due to a myriad of objective and subjective influences.
This is precisely why today's Summit is timely.
We must ask the difficult questions and match them with decisiveness. Most importantly, we must take the lessons from our experience and be willing to learn from the experiences of other countries that have been able to successfully implement long-term plans including Germany, Namibia, and Nigeria.
In our process of reflection and assessment, we must be mindful that the socioeconomic, political, and environmental challenges of South Africa are unique. Many of these challenges are rooted in our colonial past and era of subjugation under the Apartheid regime. The cross-cutting impact of these challenges both historical and present cannot be ignored.
Our country's democracy is built on the prescripts of the Constitution that underscores leaving no one behind. Instead, the Ten-Year Review depicts a story where millions of our people are left behind due to inefficiencies in our service delivery amongst others.
To change this narrative, it will require that we all ask; How do I improve my contribution in achieving the ideals of the NDP Vision 2030?
Therefore, the Inaugural National Planning Summit must attempt to deal with these complex, everchanging, and often difficult realities.
The Ten-Year Review serves as a sobering reminder of the work that lies ahead. It calls for innovative policies, coordinated efforts across sectors, and a resounding dedication and commitment to uplifting the lives of all South Africans.
We must ignite the fire of cross-sectorial coordination and active citizenry. A concerted effort is required to strengthen collaboration with different civil society organizations and formations, labour, developmental partners, multilateral fora, and the business sector.
The National Planning Summit brings together a diverse room of experts who will contribute meaningfully to a range of topics including South Africa's NDP experience, international experiences in long-term planning, discussions on South Africa's planning ecosystem, poverty reduction, job creation, skills development, resource sustainability, disaster management, historical spatial development patterns and the nation's desired future.
We also look forward to the insights from the Copenhagen Consensus Center and other institutions present today. I also want to acknowledge our esteemed guests and speakers who have joined us today.
We have an impressive line-up of thought leaders and experts, including our Deputy Chairperson. I encourage all participants to actively engage, share their insights, and ask questions. It is through open and constructive dialogue that we can collectively work towards enhancing our national planning efforts.
I hope that through the insights gained from today's discussions, we can reinvigorate the work of the NDP.
The NDP provides us with a blueprint for transformation, but it is up to us, as a nation, to ensure that its goals are not mere aspirations but tangible achievements.
Let it inspire us to redouble our efforts, harness our collective strength, and work towards a South Africa where inequality, unemployment, and poverty no longer cast shadows over our people's dreams.
It is our future, let us make it work.
I thank you.