Development: NDP key to growth

NDP catalyst to driving action toward more sustainable SA

NDP key to growth, says government
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The implementation of South Africa's National Development Plan (NDP) will be critical to the country's long-term sustainability, says Peter Bakker, president of the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD).

Bakker was addressing South African business, government and civil society leaders at a conference organised by the National Business Initiative (NBI) in Johannesburg on Thursday.

The NBI is one of 64 worldwide regional partners of the WBCSD, which is a chief executive-led organisation of 200 forward-thinking companies with a combined revenue of over US$7 trillion.

Bakker said the WBCSD recognised that "above all, robust partnerships between government, business and civil society need to be grounded in action ... We need action to solve the sometimes seemingly overwhelming social, economic and environmental challenges we face."

He said the NDP would serve as a catalyst to driving action toward a more sustainable country.

The NDP is a policy blueprint for eliminating poverty and reducing inequality in South Africa by 2030. Among other things, it identifies the key constraints to faster growth and presents a road map to a more inclusive economy that will address the country's socio-economic imbalances.

The plan was approved by Cabinet late last year and adopted by the ruling African National Congress (ANC) at its elective conference in Mangaung in December.

President Jacob Zuma, interviewed on national television following his State of the Nation Address in February, said the NDP was a crucial policy-making tool that would help South Africa develop and determine the direction the country was to take.

During a briefing on the NDP in Parliament in February, national planning minister Trevor Manuel detailed how the plan would be broken up into five-year chunks, in line with the electoral cycle, with the 2014-19 medium-term strategic framework forming the first five-year building block of the plan.

The Presidency will lead the formulation of the 2014-19 medium-term strategic framework, and a first draft of the framework will be submitted to the Cabinet in July.

The framework will include key targets from the NDP and other plans such as the New Growth Path, National Infrastructure Plan and Industry Policy Action Plan.

Minister for performance monitoring and evaluation, Collins Chabane, speaking at the same briefing, said the implementation framework of the NDP had been finalised and that, following finance minister Pravin Gordhan's 2013 Budget Speech, departments would be expected to integrate their plans with that of the NDP.

This meant that departments' strategic plans, annual performance plans and programme plans would be evaluated by the Presidency to ensure they were aligned with the plan before being submitted to Parliament.

The Presidency and National Treasury would work with departments to clarify roles and responsibilities, ensure plans and budgets were aligned, and develop clear performance indicators for each programme, Chabane said.

Critical steps would this year be taken to implement the NDP, including ensuring programmes that didn't require additional resources and long lead times were implemented, Chabane said.

The government would focus on areas where implementation of existing policies needed to improve and would hold focused dialogues to overcome obstacles to implementation.

The government would further engage with other sectors to understand how they were contributing to implementing the NDP and to identify any obstacles they may be facing, Chabane said.

The 2019-24 and 2024-29 planning cycles would be used to initiate the remaining activities and be informed by a performance review of the previous cycle.

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Issue 42