National Planning Minister Trevor Manuel suggests that a combined strategy in government will undoubtedly be necessary to tackle the inefficiencies in the country’s education system along with other issues brought up in the diagnostic report of South Africa unveiled by the National Planning Commission last month.
President Jacob Zuma appointed the NPC comprising 26 commissioners to advise government concerning critical development challenges confronting South Africa. Commissioners were additionally given the job of creating a 2030 vision and development plan for the country which is to be monitored over time.
The document, drafted following a year of rigorous work by the NPC revealed nine key issues facing the nation specifically, poor education, divided communities, uneven public service performance, an unsustainable resource-intensive economy, a high disease burden, unemployment, existing spatial patterns, crumbling infrastructure and corruption.
A number of sectors of society have received the document with mixed emotions, with the ruling ANC stating it was in “full agreement” with the wide-ranging comments mentioned in the body of the report to the effect that the country has accomplished a great deal since the start of democracy in 1994 however a whole lot more remains to be done.
Manuel mentioned that ever since the release of the commission, they had been bombarded with feedback from the public.
“All of us are certainly encouraged by the advices we are receiving. Naturally the reactions are wide and varied for the reason that some individuals are reacting according to the South Africa we see now, whereas we are going to have a different South Africa by 2030, consequently dialogue is different from individual to individual, based upon how you see South Africa,” Manuel said.
The NPC is scheduled to release its first planning report which will be delivered to Cabinet in November.
While Manuel admitted that there were probably going to be fiscal difficulties for the country to deal with a number of the issues raised on the diagnostic document, he explained it was subsequently left to government to figure out how resources were designated to meet society’s pressing demands.
A member of the public had previously questioned whether or not funding patterns for the three spheres of government were sufficient for the country to take care of the majority of the challenges brought up in the diagnostic report.
“Of course there will probably be fiscal challenges down the road, however resources need to be allocated in a way such that the countries sees fit and it is up to the Treasury to make those choices definitely not us as the commission.
“We will put the plan forward on 11 November and will also take care of every one of these issues – several in greater detail than the others, however the tools that we utilized are the tools that all South Africans will make use of to deal with these challenges,” added Manuel.
He proceeded to state the fact that the diagnostic report was not a “prescription” for the government, but geared towards enabling correct planning for the country in the next upcoming decades.
“The diagnostic report addresses varying findings with regards to the South Africa that we know now, that we can speak from research and in conjunction with where we would like to be and say to South Africans, ‘discuss these problems and inform us whether this is the country you would like to live in 2050’.”
Free State Premier Ace Magashule talked about how the province had been working hard to make sure that popular participation of its citizens in the report, adding that there had been an agreement at provincial government relating to the problems raised.
“It is quite apparent that the people of the province who are engaging in the NPC discussions are incredibly enthusiastic in terms of ensuring that indeed, we have one plan as a country and I believe this is definitely the starting point of that process and additionally our call and plea is going to be for every individual to participate,” he was quoted saying.