Address by President Jacob Zuma at the launch of the National Development Plan by the National Planning Commission, Presidential Guest House, November 11 2011
Minister in The Presidency for National Planning,
Minister Trevor Manuel;
Honourable Members of the National Planning Commission;
Ladies and gentlemen;
We are gathered here today to receive the National Development Plan for the year 2030, which outlines how we can achieve a prosperous society for our country in 20 years time (see here - PDF)..
The release of this Plan is a culmination of work that began in 2009, when we established the National Planning Commission in the Presidency.
We had come to the realisation that while a lot of good work was being done by government, there was a lack of a long-term national plan that tells us how we are going to achieve the kind of society that is outlined in the Freedom Charter and the Constitution of the Republic.
Our progressive Constitution talks about a South Africa that aims at continuously improving the quality of life of all citizens; of freeing the potential of each person and building a South Africa that is able to take its rightful place as a sovereign state in the family of nations.
The vision outlined in the Constitution, with regards to socio-economic rights, is that everyone has the right to have access to health care services, sufficient food and water and social security if they are unable to support themselves and their dependants.
The Constitution says the state must take reasonable legislative and other measures, within its available resources, to achieve the progressive realisation of each of these socio-economic rights and others.
A National Development Plan has to then tell us how we should achieve this ideal society in the long-term and open our eyes to any obstacles in our way.
That is what we had in mind when the National Planning Commission was established.
At the inaugural meeting of the National Planning Commission in May last year, I said to the Commissioners that they should take a broad, cross-cutting, independent and critical view of South Africa, and help define the South Africa we seek to achieve in 20 years time, and tell us how we can achieve those long-term objectives.
The commissioners began their work immediately.
They have worked tirelessly, held countless meetings, read hundreds of documents, and consulted with thousands of people to emerge with a diagnostic document and then the draft National Development Plan.
The Commission has followed on the tradition of our country of intensive consultations.
They embarked on an extensive public engagement process throughout the country.
They visited all nine provinces to consult with government officials, ordinary women and men, traditional leaders, political parties, as well as representatives of organised labour and business.
Besides visiting provinces, the commissioners used the internet and new social mediums to canvass ideas, particularly with younger people.
In this way, they were reinforcing our country's traditions. Our country has a rich tradition of using dialogue to build or solve problems.
You will recall that when the Freedom Charter was drafted, people from all walks of life made their inputs into what type of South Africa they wanted to live in.
When President Oliver Tambo introduced the concept of negotiations with the Apartheid regime in the 1980s, our movement convened the Conference for a Democratic Future to endorse the Harare Declaration.
When we were drafting the Constitution, thousands of South Africans made inputs into the process.
The common thread that runs through all these popular experiences is the involvement of scores of our people in processes that affect their lives. We commend the Commission indeed for following this tradition.
I also want to commend the commissioners for putting at the heart of their plan the elimination of poverty and reduction of inequality.
These two challenges, plus the need to eliminate illiteracy, are the ones that most South Africans feel most strongly about.
Any plan that fails to talk directly to the needs of our people, the needs of the poorest of our people, will not be good enough for our country.
By putting prosperity and equity at the heart of the plan, you are making a bold statement about the values that underpin our state and our Constitution.
However, we all know that this is a tall order. The global economy is depressed, and rich countries are unable to muster the political consensus to resolve these problems.
I am also happy that the Commission has identified nation building and social cohesion as both key outcomes of the plan and critical for the achievement of our objectives.
It is essential that we capture the balance in our Constitution to build a prosperous, non-racial, non-sexist and democratic South Africa.
We thank all South Africans for participating in this exciting process.
Commissioners have done their work. Now it is up to us as citizens of the country to read and use our collective wisdom, to refine the plan.
After a period of public engagement and refinement, the plan will go to Cabinet.
The New Growth Path sets the platform for the next 10 years. The National Plan that emerges from these discussions is designed to take us beyond 2020 to a planning horizon of an additional decade - to 2030, connecting the medium-term with the long-term.
Once we have finalised the long-term Plan, based on all our current work, the additional ideas coming from the National Planning Commission and the public input, it will be a plan for all of our people irrespective of race, creed, class or political affiliation.
It will be a plan for all of our people irrespective of race, creed, class or political affiliation.
Once it is adopted, all departments, provinces, municipalities and indeed all sectors of society must take the overall ownership and drive its implementation.
Let me once again thank the National Planning Commission chairperson, deputy chairperson and all Commissioners for their impressive work.
I know that you all worked round the clock to meet the deadline of delivering the plan on the 11th of the 11th month in 2011.
We look forward to working with you in refining the plan until it is adopted, and the implementation starts.
Enkosi! Reyakhensa, Reyaleboga.
Issued by The Presidency, November 11 2011
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