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Programme Director, Dr Somadoda Fikeni

Principal and Vice Chancellor of UNISA, Prof Mandla Makhanya

Director of UNISA School of Governance, Prof Harry Nengwekhulu

University Management and Academics present

Commissioners from the National Planning Commission

Members of the Diplomatic Corps

Students from various campuses

Distinguished Guests

Ladies and Gentlemen



 I consider it a great honour and it gives me immense pleasure to present this Annual National Development Plan lecture here today. Thank you for having me. This is of course the very week that marks the 5th Anniversary of the adoption of the National Development Plan, Vision 2030 (NDP). On Tuesday, 12 September 2017 we also had the distinct pleasure, in the company of National Planning Commissioners together with President Jacob Zuma, to share some of the progress and achievements, since the coming into existence of South Africa’s first ever National Development Plan.

 This anniversary of the NDP takes place at a very special time in the South African calendar. It happens in Heritage Month under the theme, “The Year of OR Tambo: Celebrating Our Liberation Heritage”.

 The 2017 Heritage Month theme contributes to the revival of the political and social-cultural consciousness across the country especially as regards the liberation struggle narrative. It invokes an expanded discussion on issues related to de-colonisation and black consciousness, democracy and economic transformation. The theme also reminds us to assert our shared identity as Africans and embrace each other's culture and heritage. This is a period when, we as the South African family, ordinarily, come together, in our numbers, and across the divides, to celebrate our “unity in diversity”.

 This must also be the time that each one of us should be proud to call ourselves South African. As a nation, we should pause again to ask, collectively, how do we improve our efforts in working for ‘’unity in action’’? For, it is in concerted, conscious and collective ‘unity in action’ and of purpose that we desire, again. Working together, we can and must cherish the common vision of a united, better and more prosperous society.

 The 5th Anniversary of the NDP, also coincided with the 40th anniversary of the tragic passing of one of our pre-eminent torch bearers of ‘’unity in struggle’ Steve Bantu Biko. Biko, who had a great influence on my personal life, as an avid member of the Black Consciousness Movement, died at the brutal hands of the apartheid security police on 12 September 1977. We therefore must have the conversation, again and again, about the progress of our democracy and its transformation as we must too remember Biko and salute him for these inspirational words:

 “It is better to die for an idea that will live, than to live for an idea that will die.”

 Indeed, these profound words so stunningly expresses the thoughts and the ideals for which Biko stood. And they remain very much alive today. And it is in the unity of that struggle, in the battle of ideas, that Biko so majestically articulated that our true worth as a nation, as South Africa, will become timeless if we can ensure that our ideas, great as they are, get implemented, actioned and executed. It is purposeful ACTION, IMPACT and IMPLEMENTATION of our NDP that we require now, more urgently than ever before.

 It is our responsibility, as a nation, to ensure that Steve Biko and other martyrs of our liberation struggle like Robert Sobukwe, Solomon Mahlangu, Chris Hani, OR Tambo and Tata Madiba and many others, did not struggle nor die in vain. History will judge us harshly. We simply have to up the ante. We must honour their unselfish sacrifices, even if for them, that meant giving everything, including the ultimate sacrifice - their lives -so that we may taste the fruits of freedom and justice. We cannot defer their aspirations, not now and not any longer. For, it was in those aspirations and dreams that they planted the seeds of hopes of all of us. Thus, it is, that we must tread carefully as leaders too – for we should not dare to tread on the dreams of our people. We must forge ahead and deliver on the mandate our people gave us and bring about the necessary step change in the socio-economic conditions of our people. The National Development Plan, Vision 2030 serves as that compass that will guide us to a more prosperous South Africa.

 As I reflect on the lessons learnt, the emerging challenges encountered and how we may enhance better implementation of the NDP, I will call on all of us here and across the length and breadth of South Africa-let us join hands again to ensure the success of the NDP. The NDP belongs to all of us , and so it behoves all of us to take charge, in our respective spheres of influence, to start a new season of hope, and to let the NDP actions and objectives blossom across our country. This is how we can demonstrate that the NDP is making a difference in our people’s lives.

 Our success comes not when things always go well for us, but it comes too when we are really tested. We are taking some big knocks, some deep disappointments and facing some stern challenges. Only if we have been in the deepest valleys can we ever know how magnificent it is to be on the highest mountain tops?

Honored guests, yes Biko did say “It is better to die for an idea that will live, than to live for an idea that will die.” But, let me remind ourselves, Biko also said: “In a bid for change, we have to take off our coats, be prepared to lose our comfort and security, our positions of prestige, and our families... A struggle without casualties is no struggle”.

 So, today, as I stand here in front of you, I call for a renewed sense of urgency in regard to implementing the NDP. It is through meaningful collaboration, tireless efforts and relentless tenacity that we will keep alive our ideas and our aspirations, as articulated in the NDP, and which must be implemented.

 The NDP places a focus on youth development  and the role of women. These accord with the national imperatives of promoting youth development and gender equity in the broader society.


 The NDP rests on the following six pillars: mobilisation of all South Africans, active engagement of citizens in their own development, expansion of the economy and making growth inclusive, building of key capabilities - human, physical and institutional; building a capable and developmental state and fostering strong leadership throughout society.

 The 5th anniversary of the NDP takes place shortly after the release of the report that shows that our economy grew by 2.5% in the last quarter, indicating that we are out of the technical recession. This is very encouraging and should reassure us that if we continue to focus the right levers in the economy, provide the necessary responsive leadership and support critical imperatives it certainly can help us reignite growth. We will consequently reap the economic benefits for all of our people. Our economy is stable and remains favorable for foreign and domestic investment as we continue to strive to improve the ease of doing business in South Africa.

 Yet, our optimism should not blind us to the challenges facing us namely: slow economic growth, rising government debt, and poor performance by some State Owned Companies and Enterprises. Then there are the challenges related to corruption. This must be dealt with decisively and swiftly.

 Most recently, Statistics South Africa (StatsSA) released figures indicating that a large percentage of our population is still in the clutches of poverty and that the real victims are our vulnerable groups — the youth, women and the elderly. Women are stuck at the bottom of the hierarchy in the socio-economic scales. This needs resolution- it calls for serious introspection and concerted efforts to tackle the scourge of poverty, inequality and unemployment. Nobody made a greater mistake than those who did nothing because they could do only a little!


 One of the key instruments that have been developed to monitor, track and evaluate the implementation of the NDP is the Medium Term Strategic Framework (MTSF) for 2014 – 2019. The MTSF prioritised 14 Outcomes as a way of measuring our current performance against our long-term goals.

 The Department Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation (DPME) recently completed the Mid-Term Review of the MTSF and this document will be availed in the public domain soon. One of the challenging areas that the review points out is that government monitors too many outcomes. In order to be more impactful in our strategies we need to reduce our scope and integrate our initiatives and targeted interventions. The review provides clear lines of sight into the areas that need improvement to achieve our vision for 2030.


 Honored Guests, let me assure you that we are working exceedingly hard to implement the NDP. The Mandate Paper, initiated by the National Planning Commission, was approved by Cabinet in August 2017. This Mandate Paper is one such example of how seriously we as the NPC take our tasks and the fruits of our efforts.

Cabinet identified the need to strengthen the alignment of the South African Budget, the MTSF and the NDP, and for budget prioritisation. DPME was instructed to develop, on an annual basis, the Mandate Paper to guide the budget process for 2018, to ensure a focused implementation of Government’s plans.

 The Mandate Paper 2017 identified the priorities of Higher Education, Social Security and Job creation. The ANC led Government on the 16th of August 2017 concluded an important step in the furtherance of the objectives of the NDP through our budget reform programme. This is the approval of the Mandate Paper for 2018, which serves as the Budget Prioritisation Framework.

 The need for the corrective and structural intervention such as the Mandate Paper is to enhance the precision and targeting of budget allocation to NDP objectives through the identification annually of a set of priorities, reflective of objective assessment and conditions at the time. The Mandate Paper therefore allows the MTEF Budget to be much more agile and response instruments of resource allocation to deal with both parameters of the expenditure and revenue generation.

 The Mandate Paper is an addition to our planning tools to ensure effective prioritisation and ensure that resource allocation supports implementation of the NDP, within the prevailing socio-economic context and fiscal framework. The Mandate Paper process precedes and guides the budget process. The budget processes will continue to be managed by the National Treasury in terms of the Public Finance Management Act.

 The Mandate Paper is an instrument for budget prioritisation, and the process through which it is developed, will be strengthened as part of the process of institutionalizing planning, which includes the introduction of legislation. Next Year and in the future the Mandate Paper will be completed earlier in the planning cycle by the end of April each year, to guide all State Institutions in developing their budget proposals for the following financial year.

 We are also exploring new, effective and better avenues for socio-economic development in our country as we implement the NDP.


The NDP takes a futuristic perspective in its approach, as it outlines our envisaged development trajectory in the journey towards 2030. It singles out the youth as the major catalysts in boosting economic growth. It puts youth empowerment at the epicenter of development strategies. The youth are therefore at the core of South Africa’s development agenda. 

 It is important to note that the scourge of unemployment is not a government problem alone. It is a societal problem. Youth development is therefore a matter of national importance. To ignore the plight of youth will be a major risk in the socio-economic condition of our country.

 The DPME has initiated the National Youth Development Ambassador Programme to mobilise young South Africans to be active role-players in economic growth. As government, our mission is to transform the economic the landscape and make it more inclusive and address the challenges of poverty, unemployment and inequality.

 We have recently initiated the NDP Ambassador Programme, which is premised on promoting youth entrepreneurship to boost economic growth, increase employment, and reduce poverty and inequality. We intend to work with vibrant young people who are proud to serve the nation and are between the ages of 18 – 35. The selected contingent of young people must be committed individuals who are prepared to drive change in our society.

 The NDP brand ambassador programme is an endeavor aimed at providing a platform for young people to share ideas that will take South Africa forward. This is a very important venture to ensure that the youth are self-sufficient. The youth of today are the ones who will witness the fruition of our Vision 2030. They must be the key drivers of NDP programmes today. When we invest in youth, we invest in the future of our country.

 Future projections indicate that an estimated 65% of children entering primary school today will most likely work in roles that do not yet exist. We must expose the youth to as wide a variety of technological innovations as possible. Any initiative that seeks to empower the youth is an investment towards the future of our country.

  6.   ICT

 The ICT Industry is one of the most crucial elements in the realisation of the objectives of the NDP. Internet access and broadband spectrum is the lifeblood of innovation, entrepreneurship and opportunity. We must position South Africa and the African continent as a global leader in the development and use of information and communication technologies for socio-economic development.

 Progressive nations all across the globe enhance their chances of prosperity through investment in new ideas, new innovations and new opportunities. Young people must be given opportunities to explore their talents and unleash their creative potential. We need innovative young entrepreneurs who will play a meaningful role in the renewal of our economy. Entrepreneurship is a fundamental endeavor for economic emancipation especially in our rapidly changing industrial landscape.

 One of the ways in which we can effectively empower the youth is by establishing a nexus between government, business and civil society organisations to combat youth unemployment. We must work together to provide skills development opportunities through training, internships and mentorship for young graduates and budding entrepreneurs. This is how we can lay a solid foundation for rapid and inclusive economic growth in our country.


 Women empowerment is one of the fundamental areas in the transformation of our society. We have since 1994 witnessed the increasing proportion of women in national and provincial legislatures. To date, 42% of all parliamentarians were women at the time, still eight percentage points short of the 50% target.

 The percentage of women in legislative bodies has improved from 38.4% in 2011 to 41.2% in 2015. The Gender Inequality Index reflects gender-based inequalities in three dimensions improved from 0.462 to 0.394 representing a 14.7% progress.

 However, women still make up a large percentage of the poor; particularly in rural areas. The NDP takes gender – along with race and geographic location – into account, proposing a range of measures to advance women’s equality. In summary, the recommendations in the NDP are as follows:

 •  Public employment should be expanded to provide work for the unemployed, with specific focus on youth and        women.

 •    The transformation of the economy should involve the active participation and empowerment of women.

 •  Social, cultural, religious and educational barriers to women entering the job market should be addressed.  Concrete measures should be put in place and the results should be evaluated overtime. Access to safe drinking  water, electricity and quality early childhood education, for example, could free women from doing unpaid work and   help them seek jobs.

 •    By 2030, people living in South Africa should have no fear of crime, Women, children and those who are vulnerable  should feel protected.

 •    Security of tenure should be created for communal farmers, especially women.

 •   Coverage of antiretroviral treatment to all HIV-positive persons requiring such drugs should be expanded, alongside treatment of high-risk HIV-negative persons. Effective microbicides should be offered routinely to all women 16 years and older

 •  The country needs sustained campaigns that focus on changing attitudes and behaviour in relation to racist,    homophobic and xenophobic tendencies. It needs to strengthen existing campaigns for non-racialism and gender    equity, and against gender violence.

 •  The Commission for Gender Equality and the Ministry of Women should develop joint targets, indicators and  timelines for monitoring and evaluating progress towards gender equality. These must be realistic, and should be  accomplished through proper gender mainstreaming in departments. The government must address gaps and  weaknesses in legislation.

 •   Local government should include more women at representative level, as well as in shaping budgetary priorities. Women are frequently marginalised in local politics and excluded from decision-making processes. Women’s participation in integrated development planning is uneven.

 •    All vulnerable groups including women, children, rural communities, gay and lesbian people and African immigrants should enjoy equal protection and their vulnerability should be addressed through effective and coordinated responses by the police, business, community and civil society (see chapter 12 for details).

 •  The fostering of Constitutional values though schools and the media should help create a tolerant and gender-sensitive South Africa. These institutions should empower people to challenge prejudice and discriminatory practices.

    Social, cultural, religious and educational barriers for women to enter the job market should be addressed. Concrete measures should be put in place to address these barriers and the results should be evaluated over time. Improved access to safe drinking water, electricity and quality early childhood education, could reduce the burden of domestic work and so make it easier for women to seek job opportunities.


Honourable Guests, it is now five years since the plan was adopted and I am proud to say the NDP is yielding positive results. The DPME produces periodic reports that show that we are making progress despite the challenges in certain areas. These reports help us to gouge the progress and identify new priorities and areas that need special focus. At this stage, let me highlight some of the achievements of the NDP across the various sectors.

 Through the implementation of Operation Phakisa, we have developed very specific interventions in the Oceans Economy, Health, Education, Mining and Agriculture sectors. Operation Phakisa programmes in Ocean Economy, have since 2014 unlocked R7 billion in investments and created 6 903 jobs.  One of the achievements is the establishment of the Office of the Chief Procurement Officer in the National Treasury. The Employment Tax Incentive Act aimed at helping young people enter the labour market was passed by Parliament in 2013 and implementation began this year.

 We are implementing incentives and support services for investors through our Special Economic Zones (SEZs) programme. As part of the suite of SEZs, the six Industrial Development Zones (IDZs) established between 2002 - 2014, have attracted about 59 investors with an investment value of more than R10.7 billion.

 There are yet more examples:

  •  724 430 households have been connected to grid since 2014 (58% of 2019 target of 1.25 million) and 52 778 households connected to non-grid (50% of 2019 target of 105 000 households).
  •  Over 1 million households given access to refuse removal between 2013 and 2016 against the 2019 target of 1.3 million households (General Household Survey).
  •  1.12 million Households were given access to decent sanitation since 2014 (45% of 2019 target).
  •  305 00 households have also been given access to a reliable water service since 2014 (12% of 2019 target of 2.3 million).
  •  Sustainable human settlements and improved quality of household life has resulted in 331 000 housing units delivered during 2014-2016.
  •  3 455 schools have been connected to the internet and received devices through Operation Phakisa ICT.
  •  The matric pass rate improved to 72, 5% in 2016, up from 70, 7% in 2015.Bachelor passes increased to 162 374 in 2016 from 150 752 in 2014.
  • Youth have also benefitted on the expansion of access to post school training opportunities, provision of NSFAS funding and completion of three more TVET colleges.
  •  Tourism’s contribution to the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) has grown from R372bn in 2014 to R375bn in 2015, tourist arrivals figures went up by about 50% from 8.9m to 29.2m. Total tourist foreign direct spend   rose from R67.9 billion to R189.2 billion.
  •  Life Expectancy increased by 6 years and reached 63.3 years in 2015. Population-based Maternal Mortality Ratio has decreased from 158 deaths per 100 000 in 2015 to 154/100, 00 live births in 2014.          Institutional maternal mortality ratio has decreased to 138 per 100,000. Child Mortality Rate (Under 5) has improved from 41 deaths / 1 000 live births in 2014 to 37 / 1 000 live births in 2016. Over 3.7 million people living with HIV receiving lifelong Antiretroviral Therapy.


 I return to my call for all of us to join hands again.

 It is evident that there are some pockets of excellence in the performance of government against the NDP 2030 targets. Overall progress towards impact indicators during 2014/15-2016/17 reflects a need to accelerate progress during 2017/18 -2018/19.

 South Africa must intensify the national dialogue to seek common solutions and concrete actions to deal with slow growth and poverty through a partnership with business, organised labour and all stakeholders who share a commitment to ensuring inclusive growth. For our growth strategies to be fully effective we need the support and direct involvement of business, labour and civil society.

Academia, including UNISA, must also take up the cudgels. You have a role to play. Engage us; lets collaborate meaningfully over the next 5 years to ensure we do not tread on the hopes and dreams of our people?

 I strongly believe that young people should be at the forefront of fundamental change in society. The future of this country is in their hands. It is our local innovators and entrepreneurs who will ultimately create the millions of jobs that we need to realise an inclusive economy. Every government and business programme should have a special focus on youth development.


We must invest in skills development so that we can produce young men and women who will become exceptional innovators and make a meaningful contribution to economic growth. Let us explore ways in which government, youth and business can collaborate in creating jobs that are required to grow an inclusive economy as envisaged in the NDP.


 Yes, I want to talk about leadership. And if we have ever needed it, it is now! Our heroes, like Biko - these were the cadres who fought and died for our freedom so that we may get to the “seats at the table”. Yet, now that we have those seats, now that we have pulled them up to the nation’s table, we dish ourselves generous slices of “pap and vleis” - some of us, even have second rounds? And not to mention the Mqombothi…

 Where are the leaders; are they to be found anywhere? The answer is yes - and in this room. You are the leaders today. You are the ones we have been waiting for. You are the ones upon whose shoulders rejuvenation, recovery and rebirth are foisted.

 The bad news – it is a heavy burden. The good news? We can do it – for we have done it before, and I have every conviction that we are tough and brave enough to do it again.

 Government, the entrepreneurs, the youth, the women, the business sector - the CEOs, CIOs, CFOs, and all the other C’s, yes, including Chancellors and Vice Chancellors of Universities-we can do it again.

 But what does leadership look like in our world, in 2030?

  • We will not lead marches - we will lead productive teams at work.
  •  We will to fight for the right to vote - but we have to learn to use it well.
  •  We probably will not have to go to jail in our number - but we must start paying attention to who will be going there.

 So, right now, we who are leaders must ask - what can we do to help? Our country, our provinces, our cities and our communities - what needs fixing and what are we going to do to fix it?

 I know we can work this out! The NDP Diagnostic gave us the insights. The PLAN now takes us to that better place, in 2030. We are some of the  most resilient, most insightful people on this continent. What would happen to our communities if all this talent, genius and energy became intent, focused on improving their lot?

What with all we know, and can do, could we make happen, by channeling just some of the energy we expend on surviving as individuals into thriving as communities? So how about if…

  •   we stopped asking, ‘who caused this mess?’ and wishing they would fix it, and started doing whatever it takes to get where we need to be?
  •    If…we ceased worrying why nobody cares and hoping somebody would, and started acting like we care about ourselves and doing something about it?
  •   If..we quit dwelling on yesterday and sleep walking dejectedly through today, and started dealing with reality before it does a miss on us?
  •  I believe in our communities. I believe in us. We are and must be the agents of change.​


 I want to remind us all again: Honored 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, here at UNISA, by trying with the circles of virtue within our reach, by becoming an active and participatory citizenry, wherever we find ourselves.

 Again, I submit to you, the NDP envisions a South Africa where opportunity is determined not by birth, but by ability, education and hard work.

 As we reflect in this, our Heritage Month-let’s agree to build:

  • 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, responsive and ethical 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 marginalized. 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! This is a clarion call to all the citizens of South Africa to play their part, have the strength to dare again, meet the challenge again, in making the NDP work. We can all make a difference. The NDP belongs to all of us. It is our future, let us make it work! For no-one will do it for us…The test of our progress with the implementation of the NDP will not be whether we add more to the abundance of those who have much already. No, it will be when we have provided enough for those who have too little.

I Thank You.

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