The minister of public enterprises Malusi Gigaba has issued a strong backing to the National Development Plan (NDP) by reiterating the mantra of the NDP drafters that the plan is not cast in stone but is a living document.
Gigaba’s utterances, made while addressing the Convention of the Association of Municipal Electricity Utilities in East London today, will be seen as adding muscle to the pro NDP brigade within the ANC and its allies and against leftist groups who are hell bent on killing the NDP. The debate does transcend economic policy parameters and has largely become a platform to fight pure political battles. As such observers will scrutinise Gigaba’s utterances for political allegiance.
Gigaba said South Africa should look ahead with optimism. “Today, as a result of the massive progress we have made, we have reason not only to celebrate what we have achieved, but as a result of this, to be more positive about the future, confident that we have a real possibility to bequeath our children an even better society that is more equal and just, with a thriving and sustainable economy and quality basic services”.
This is precisely what the National Development Plan exhorts us to do, building on this confidence that we have accumulated”.
The NDP said Gigaba is not merely a set of economic plans or sectarian formulations about what we need to do; it is a comprehensive vision and plan to develop our country comprehensively into the future”.
It articulates a vision to pursue full employment, achieve high growth rates on a consistent basis, eliminating income poverty, reduce inequality, ensure quality education, health and social safety for all and build an efficient, capable and corruption-free state”.
This has been supported by the overwhelming majority of the peoples of South Africa”.
However, said Gigaba some of the critics of the NDP have not outrightly rejected the plan, but highlighted issues which require further engagement and debate, with a view to improving them as we march forward with its implementation”.
The Plan itself is not sacrosanct or cast in stone, but is a living document.
However, the NDP recognises that in spite of the significant progress we have made since 1994, massive, deep and brutal poverty remains the daily reality for many South Africans, and we are duty-bound to address this if we must make the decisive turn towards meaningful economic transformation that the President (Jacob Zuma) directed us to make”.
In effect, we must turn our backs on poverty, inequality and unemployment and strive towards a more socially just and equal society,” said Gigaba.
In this regard, the New Growth Path recognised infrastructure development as one of the key jobs-drivers necessary to take our economy to a new level”.