POLITICS

NPC Day 2: Jeff Radebe Presented A Rather Flawed Update On The National Development Plan

Glorified statistics.

02/07/2017 07:40 SAST | Updated 02/07/2017 07:49 SAST
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ANALYSIS

Minister in the Presidency Jeff Radebe was quick to emphasise the "progress" his party made in the implementation of its optimistic National Development Plan (NDP) -- but the reality is that his findings are skewed.

This is not to say there hasn't been progress at all, but the glorified statistics handed down by the Head of Policy are not what they seem.

Radebe was speaking at a media briefing after presenting an overview of the progress made in realising the NDP's goals to ANC delegates attending the party's policy conference on Saturday.

Essentially, the NDP is an economic policy framework that aims to eliminate poverty and reduce inequality by 2030. It was tabled by the ANC at its Mangaung conference in 2012.

In the five years since the plan was put in place, it has been the topic of heated debate, with some lambasting it for setting unrealistic goals and selectively drawing from certain government policies and programmes while completely ignoring others.

While Radebe's figures may be accurate, his dates of comparison are what is significantly important.

He said the ANC is on a "positive trajectory" in terms of education, because the country's matric pass rate rose from 58% in 1994 to 72.5% in 2016. That's 12 years of development which resulted in a 14.5% change.

It's easy to compare figures from when South Africa only started bandaging the wounds of apartheid.

But, if one had to go back to 2012, when the NDP was first initiated, the matric pass rate then was 1.4% higher than it is now.

Radebe boasted that 226 000 Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) college students and 255 000 university students received funding from the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) in the 2016 financial year.

"The NSFAS budget has increased rapidly in the past years, funding more students," he said.

There was indeed an increase in funding, but this was not across the entire range.

In 2014, only 186 150 students attending universities across the country were funded by NSFAS -- that's almost 70 000 less than it was last year. But, the rate of progress was not the same for TVETs. About 2500 less students were funded in these colleges in 2016 as compared to 2014.

Radebe then went on to highlight that 79% of South Africa's population is now living in formal housing -- but this figure was at 76% in 2002 and 80% in 2014.

"The NDP is our roadmap towards socio-economic transformation...We must demonstrate that the ANC is the only party that will make the difference that our citizens demand," he said.

Here is what Radebe recommended the commissions consider for the NDP going ahead:

  • Universal access to quality Early Childhood Development services.
  • Universal access to information and communication technology (ICT) in schools.
  • Full implementation of government's National Health Insurance White Paper.
  • Expand the Community Health Worker Programme to achieve a target of 700 000 by 2030.
  • Densify suburban areas to create integrated human settlements.