Mak­goba opts not to hear blar­ney

Deputy chair­man of plan­ning says we must fo­cus on NDP

The Star Early Edition - - POLITICS - BON­GANI HANS

DEPUTY chair­man of the Na­tional Plan­ning Com­mis­sion Pro­fes­sor Male­ga­puru Mak­goba has raised eye­brows with his com­ments that gov­ern­ment is splash­ing money on ex­pen­sive cars in­stead of pri­ori­tis­ing the im­ple­men­ta­tion of the Na­tional Development Plan (NDP).

He said peo­ple’s fo­cus on the NDP had been dis­tracted by de­bate on rad­i­cal eco­nomic trans­for­ma­tion and “whether the monopoly cap­i­tal was white or colour­less”.

Mak­goba, who is also the Health Om­buds­man, presided over the in­ves­ti­ga­tion into the more than 100 Esidi­meni pa­tients who died in Gaut­eng last year.

He made the con­tro­ver­sial re­marks on the NDP while ad­dress­ing an an­nual me­mo­rial lec­ture on for­mer black busi­ness icon Don Mkhwanazi on Mon­day night in Dur­ban.

He was hosted by the Black Man­age­ment Fo­rum, which is known to be sup­port­ive of Pres­i­dent Ja­cob Zuma.

In the plan­ning body, Mak­goba is deputy to Jeff Radebe, the min­is­ter of plan­ning, mon­i­tor­ing and eval­u­a­tion, which is the depart­ment in charge of over­see­ing the im­ple­men­ta­tion of the NDP by var­i­ous de­part­ments.

Yes­ter­day Radebe’s of­fice de­clined to re­spond to Mak­goba’s as­ser­tions, say­ing that it had not re­ceived an of­fi­cial com­plaint from the com­mis­sion, which ad­vises gov­ern­ment on pol­icy mat­ters.

Zuma’s spokesper­son, Bon­gani Ngqu­lunga, de­clined to com­ment and re­ferred the mat­ter to Radebe.

Mak­goba told the au­di­ence that the gov­ern­ment had in 2012 adopted the NDP, and five years down the line “we are yet to see the na­tional bud­get of our coun­try being pri­ori­tised to un­der­pin the rec­om­men­da­tion of this im­por­tant na­tional trans­for­ma­tion plan”.

“We have a plan, we like it very much, we take it to Par­lia­ment, the whole world praises it and we are the ones that don’t im­ple­ment it. You can­not de­liver a plan with­out re­sources, and the only re­sources we have as the gov­ern­ment is the na­tional bud­get, but we have the na­tional bud­get do­ing some­thing else, ei­ther buy­ing cars for min­is­ters or cell­phones but at the same time you ac­tu­ally want to trans­form the coun­try.”

He said in­stead of pri­ori­tis­ing the NDP, the gov­ern­ment had al­lowed it­self to be dis­tracted by “petty and sexy slo­gans such as white monopoly cap­i­tal or rad­i­cal eco­nomic trans­for­ma­tion, but most of us can­not even un­der­stand how to define them.”

“Three months down the line an­other word comes in and we for­get that one.

“So we are al­ways chas­ing things that are a dis­trac­tion to the main fo­cus of what we should be do­ing as a South African na­tion,” Mak­goba said.

But Radebe said about 1.4 tril­lion had been al­lo­cated for the NDP and the gov­ern­ment, through his Plan­ning, Mon­i­tor­ing and Eval­u­a­tion Depart­ment, was work­ing on iden­ti­fy­ing “most pri­or­i­ties that must take cen­tre stage in the al­lo­ca­tion of the bud­get”.

“In the next week or so, we are go­ing to be see­ing the fruit of that work that gov­ern­ment, to­gether with the na­tional plan­ning com­mis­sion, is do­ing.”

Mak­goba said South Africa was fac­ing eco­nomic and fu­ture direction crises. “South Africans have a gift of the gab as we are good at talk­ing, very poor at do­ing. There are dark clouds hov­er­ing around us as a na­tion.”

He spoke of “vul­tures and hye­nas”, which are man­i­fest­ing them­selves in “our so­ci­ety in a form of scan­dals and Gupta leaks”.

‘There are dark clouds hov­er­ing around us...’

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