Na­tional De­vel­op­ment Plan, five years on

Public Sector Manager - - Contents -

The NDP has made progress in key ar­eas since its launch in 2012

It has been five years since the adop­tion of the Na­tional De­vel­op­ment Plan (NDP) and the coun­try has made gains in meet­ing the tar­gets set out in the plan. The NDP, which was given the okay by Cab­i­net in Septem­ber 2012, is a far-reach­ing strat­egy aimed at cre­at­ing a bet­ter South Africa. Some of the tar­gets in­clude re­duc­ing un­em­ploy­ment to 16 per­cent by 2020 and six per­cent by 2030, and erad­i­cat­ing ab­so­lute poverty.

Al­though South Africa is still far from achiev­ing many of the plan's tar­gets, it has made no­table progress in some ar­eas, says Min­is­ter in the Pres­i­dency for Plan­ning, Mon­i­tor­ing and Eval­u­a­tion Jeff Radebe.

Pock­ets of ex­cel­lence

In a brief­ing to Par­lia­ment re­cently, Min­is­ter Radebe sin­gled out cer­tain 'pock­ets of ex­cel­lence' in the per­for­mance of govern­ment against the NDP 2030 tar­gets, mainly in the pro­vi­sion of ba­sic ser­vices, health and ed­u­ca­tion.

For ex­am­ple, since 2014 al­most 725 000 house­holds have been con­nected to the elec­tric­ity grid (58 per­cent of the 2019 tar­get of 1.25 mil­lion), while more than one mil­lion house­holds were given ac­cess to refuse re­moval be­tween 2013 and 2016, just be­low the 2019 tar­get of 1.3 mil­lion.

In ad­di­tion, since 2014, 1.12 mil­lion house­holds re­ceived ac­cess to de­cent san­i­ta­tion (45 per­cent of the 2019 tar­get) and 305 000 house­holds have ac­cess to a re­li­able wa­ter ser­vice (12 per­cent of the 2019 tar­get of 2.3 mil­lion).

In the area of health, South Africa's life ex­pectancy has in­creased by six years, to 63.3 years in 2015. In ad­di­tion, more than 3.7 mil­lion peo­ple liv­ing with HIV are re­ceiv­ing life­long an­tiretro­vi­ral ther­apy.

In ed­u­ca­tion, the na­tional ma­tric pass rate im­proved to 72.5 per­cent in 2016, up from 70.7 per­cent in 2015. Bach­e­lor passes rose to 162 374 in 2016 from 150 752 in 2014.

The re­sults com­ple­ment a 2015 United Na­tions Ed­u­ca­tional, Sci­en­tific and Cul­tural Or­gan­i­sa­tion (UNESCO) re­port which re­veals that, since 1994, more learn­ers re­main in school up to Grade 12. Re­search con­ducted by the De­part­ment of Ba­sic Ed­u­ca­tion last year found that in 2015 close to 60 per­cent of learn­ers suc­cess­fully com­pleted 13 years of ed­u­ca­tion, in­clud­ing Grade R. In 1995, only 39 per­cent of young peo­ple aged 25 years re­ported hav­ing com­pleted Grade 12.

Another re­search re­port, pub­lished in 2016 by Univer­sity of Stel­len­bosch's Dr Mar­tin Gustafson, in­di­cates that about 34 000 learn­ers achieved a mark of 60 per­cent or more in math­e­mat­ics in the 2016 ma­tric ex­ams, com­pared to fig­ures of about 30 000 learn­ers in 2014, and 31 000 learn­ers in 2015.

Com­bat­ing cor­rup­tion

The Min­is­ter also high­lighted ad­vances made in com­bat­ing cor­rup­tion.The num­ber of peo­ple con­victed for cor­rup­tion in cases in­volv­ing R5 mil­lion and more, dou­bled be­tween 2013/14 and 2016/17, from 52 to 110.

Last year South Africa also im­proved its rank­ing on Trans­parency In­ter­na­tional's Cor­rup­tion Per­cep­tion In­dex – mov­ing from 67 out of 168 coun­tries in 2015 to 61 out of 176 in 2016.

The coun­try has also made some progress with re­gard to land re­form. In 1994 a to­tal of 87 per­cent of land was owned by white com­mer­cial farm­ers, with 13 per­cent avail­able for black peo­ple. As of 2016, 10.6 per­cent of the 30 per­cent tar­get to dis­trib­ute agri­cul­tural land to pre­vi­ously dis­ad­van­taged in­di­vid­u­als had been achieved.

De­spite these achieve­ments, South Africa has bat­tled to over­come the key chal­lenges of poverty and un­em­ploy­ment.

The NDP tar­gets the erad­i­ca­tion of poverty for those liv­ing on less than R647 a month ac­cord­ing to 2015 prices (the lower bound poverty line). Fig­ures fell from 51 per­cent 2006 to 36.4 per­cent by 2011, but have started to rise again, reach­ing 40 per­cent in 2015. Statis­ti­cian-Gen­eral Pali Le­holhla has at­trib­uted the re­ver­sal of those gains over the past few years to drought, low eco­nomic growth and ris­ing un­em­ploy­ment.

De­spite this, South Africa has made mod­est progress tack­ling in­equal­ity, with the coun­try's Gini co­ef­fi­cient (a mea­sure of in­come in­equal­ity) hav­ing fallen from 0.72 in 2006 to 0.68 in 2015 (a level of zero rep­re­sents per­fect equal­ity, while one rep­re­sents per­fect in­equal­ity), edg­ing closer to the 2030 tar­get of 0.60. How­ever, while it has re­mained sta­ble or dropped in the white, coloured and In­dian pop­u­la­tions, it has risen among black Africans to 0.65 in 2015, up from 0.64 in 2006.

Still, the slight de­cline in equal­ity has helped South Africa in­crease the share of in­come go­ing to the bot­tom 40 per­cent of in­come earn­ers.The NDP projects that this should rise from six per­cent in 2010 to 10 per­cent by 2030. In 2015 it stood at 8.3 per­cent.

“Once, we ut­tered the dream of a rain­bow.

Now we see it, liv­ing it.”

The chal­lenge of un­em­ploy­ment

Un­em­ploy­ment, how­ever, has wors­ened. With the econ­omy grow­ing at just 0.3 per­cent last year – against the NDP's growth tar­get of 5.4 per­cent – job creation re­mains South Africa's key chal­lenge.The un­em­ploy­ment rate was at 27.7 per­cent in the sec­ond quar­ter of 2017, the high­est in 14 years.

To tackle un­em­ploy­ment and im­prove eco­nomic growth, Min­is­ter Radebe's de­part­ment made five rec­om­men­da­tions to Par­lia­ment in Au­gust.

These in­clude: the govern­ment must en­gage more openly with the pri­vate sec­tor and labour; part­ner­ships should be set up be­tween col­leges and in­dus­try to en­sure rel­e­vant TVET col­lege qual­i­fi­ca­tions; the pol­icy po­si­tion on the fund­ing of Post School Ed­u­ca­tion Train­ing for the poor needs to be fi­nalised; the govern­ment should en­gage with the pri­vate sec­tor on the delivery of key in­fra­struc­ture projects; and the govern­ment's Nine Point Plan must be im­ple­mented.

Pro­grammes to grow busi­nesses

De­spite the slow econ­omy, the govern­ment has made progress in some ar­eas. For ex­am­ple, a R1.5 bil­lion fund for small and medium-sized en­ter­prises (SMEs) has been es­tab­lished by big busi­ness and the fund is ex­pected to make its first in­vest­ments this year. Chief ex­ec­u­tives of the coun­try's big com­pa­nies have also com­mit­ted to a youth em­ploy­ment pro­gramme to place one mil­lion youth in paid in­tern­ships over three years.

In ad­di­tion, the De­part­ment of Trade and In­dus­try last year launched a new in­vest­ment pro­mo­tion agency, In­vest SA.

To in­crease the num­ber of black-owned man­u­fac­tur­ing firms, the de­part­ment also launched the Black In­dus­tri­al­ist Pro­gramme in 2015. So far 46 black in­dus­tri­al­ists have been sup­ported with over R2.1 bil­lion in fund­ing, Trade and In­dus­try Min­is­ter Rob Davies said in May.The de­part­ment has set a tar­get of reach­ing 100 by March next year.The sup­port to date will al­low black in­dus­tri­al­ists to un­der­take in­vest­ment projects to­talling R3.7 bil­lion, cre­at­ing al­most 20 000 di­rect and in­di­rect jobs.

Added to this, close to a tril­lion rand has been bud­geted over the next three years for pub­lic-sec­tor in­fra­struc­ture in ar­eas such as en­ergy, trans­port and telecom­mu­ni­ca­tions.

Over the past two years, pub­lic and pri­vate in­vest­ment to­talling R17 bil­lion has been tar­geted to­wards oceans econ­omy ini­tia­tives, cre­at­ing about 5 000 jobs. In­vest­ments sup­port ship­build­ing and train­ing of ma­rine en­gi­neers and ar­ti­sans.

To help boost small busi­nesses, the govern­ment will this year seek to fi­nalise amend­ments to the Pref­er­en­tial Pro­cure­ment Pol­icy Framework Act (PPPFA) that are nec­es­sary before a 30 per­cent set-aside for small busi­nesses can be in­tro­duced.

Key to car­ry­ing out the NDP is a more ca­pa­ble state. To im­prove the per­for­mance of the pub­lic sec­tor, the De­part­ment of Pub­lic Ser­vice and Ad­min­is­tra­tion in 2015 in­tro­duced com­pul­sory in­duc­tion train­ing for all newly ap­pointed pub­lic ser­vants by the Na­tional School of Govern­ment. In ad­di­tion, the new amended Pub­lic Ser­vice Reg­u­la­tions, which came into ef­fect in Au­gust last year, ban pub­lic ser­vants from do­ing busi­ness with govern­ment.

How­ever, the NDP is not just a plan for govern­ment but for the whole coun­try. Its im­ple­men­ta­tion re­quires the in­volve­ment of all sec­tors.The Medium Term Strate­gic Framework calls on ev­ery­one to come to­gether to craft and im­ple­ment so­cial com­pacts that will pro­pel South Africa onto a higher de­vel­op­men­tal tra­jec­tory.

By work­ing to­gether, South Africa may have a bet­ter chance of re­al­is­ing the hopes de­scribed in Vi­sion

2030 that con­cludes: “Once, we ut­tered the dream of a rain­bow. Now we see it, liv­ing it. It does not curve over the sky. It is re­fracted in each one of us at home, in the com­mu­nity, in the city, and across the land, in an abun­dance of colour. When we see it in the faces of our chil­dren, we know: there will al­ways be, for us, a wor­thy fu­ture.”

Progress re­ports for each of the 14 out­comes out­lined in the NDP can be viewed on the Pro­gramme of Ac­tion web­site (www.poa.gov.za) man­aged by the De­part­ment of Per­for­mance Mon­i­tor­ing and Eval­u­a­tion.

Writer: Stephen Timm

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