CityPress - - Business - LESETJA MA­LOPE lesetja.ma­lope@city­press.co.za

The Na­tional De­vel­op­ment Plan (NDP) has pro­gressed de­spite a re­cent re­port stat­ing that South Africa has the most un­equal so­ci­ety in the world.

This is ac­cord­ing to Malegapuru Makgoba dur­ing the Top Em­pow­er­ment Con­fer­ence ear­lier in the week on the East Rand.

Makgoba, who is also the deputy chair­per­son of the Na­tional Plan­ning Com­mis­sion (NPC), said the NDP, which is the de­vel­op­ment blue­print of the coun­try, had achieved a lot within a num­ber of years, but also ac­knowl­edged that many peo­ple were still trapped in poverty.

“Too few South Africans work. The qual­ity of school ed­u­ca­tion for the ma­jor­ity is of poor qual­ity and our state lacks ca­pac­ity in crit­i­cal areas. There has been sig­nif­i­cant progress, but our coun­try re­mains di­vided, with op­por­tu­nity still shaped by the legacy of apartheid. In par­tic­u­lar, young peo­ple and women are de­nied the op­por­tu­ni­ties to lead the lives that they de­sire. The NDP en­vi­sions a South Africa in 2030 where ev­ery­one feels free, yet bound to oth­ers; where ev­ery­one em­braces their full po­ten­tial, a coun­try where op­por­tu­nity is de­ter­mined not by birth, but by abil­ity, ed­u­ca­tion and hard work,” he said.

Makgoba fur­ther said the re­cently con­vened NPC an­nual lek­gotla was deeply con­cerned that the trends per­tain­ing to key ob­jec­tives of the NDP – to re­duce poverty, in­equal­ity and un­em­ploy­ment – have seen a back­ward slide.

“Of course, we noted with ut­ter dis­may the lat­est World Bank re­port that showed that in­equal­ity in South Africa has in fact deep­ened since the dawn of democ­racy, with South Africa be­ing ‘the most un­equal so­ci­ety in the world’, where skills are fast re­plac­ing race as a ma­jor fac­tor ac­count­ing for the in­equal­ity.

“The re­port noted that more than 75% of South Africans slipped into poverty at least once be­tween 2008 and 2015, with the poverty head­count be­ing higher in ru­ral areas. Half of South Africans dur­ing the 2008 to 2014/15 pe­riod were con­sid­ered chron­i­cally poor or hav­ing av­er­age con­sump­tion below the up­per-bound poverty line. At least 78% of South Africans were in poverty at least once dur­ing this pe­riod. So, de­spite the overall pos­i­tive trend on poverty re­duc­tion be­tween 2006 and 2015, poverty had in­creased be­tween 2011 and 2015, with at least 2.5 mil­lion more South Africans slip­ping into poverty,” he added.

He said the lek­gotla re­solved to spend the next two and a half years restor­ing con­fi­dence in the blue­print and pro­mot­ing ac­cel­er­ated im­ple­men­ta­tion.

“The NPC is a nec­es­sary com­po­nent of South Africa’s trans­for­ma­tion and de­vel­op­men­tal state. The re­al­i­sa­tion of its pri­or­i­ties as con­tained in the NDP will bring the much talked about rad­i­cal eco­nomic trans­for­ma­tion into re­al­ity. The NPC is an in­de­pen­dent struc­ture that works for so­ci­ety with all stake­hold­ers to build a so­cially co­he­sive na­tion in line with the Con­sti­tu­tion and bring the vi­sion 2030 alive and real,” he con­cluded in his ad­dress.

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