THE BLOG

South Africa Has Been Sitting On Its Solutions

It is worrying that our country has all the plans in place and yet cannot get them off the ground despite the 100% buy-in from all political parties.

22/03/2017 03:59 SAST
Esa Alexander / The Times / Gallo Images / Getty Images
President Jacob Zuma naps during Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan's 2017 budget speech at Parliament on February 22, 2017 in Cape Town, South Africa.

The past few weeks had me thinking really hard about what happened to the National Development Plan (NDP). What could possibly have happened? A plan universally accepted by all political parties, organised labour and with just a handful of naysayers.

The NDP, which aims to eliminate poverty and reduce inequality by 2030, provides solutions to one of our country's most important problems.

According to the Plan, our country can realise set goals by drawing on the energies of its people, growing an inclusive economy, building capabilities, enhancing the capacity of the state, and promoting leadership and partnerships throughout society.

However, in his 2017 State of the Nation Address, President Jacob Zuma only mentioned the NDP twice.

The President had hardly anything substantial to say on how under his administration the NDP will be implemented. He made broad statements such as "guided by the NDP, we are building a South Africa that must be free from poverty, inequality and unemployment."

South Africans, especially the youth who are not enrolled in tertiary institutions or undergoing skills training, bear the brunt of poverty, inequality and unemployment. Yet it seems the President didn't deem the issue important enough to address in his speech.

If our country is to move forward, which the ANC claims to be doing in all its slogans, how is it that we are not implementing the NDP as envisioned?

How exactly have we moved forward, when our economy is not growing, more jobs are being lost and more and more people are feeling the squeeze of an economy in desperate need of revitalisation?

The facts on poverty and inequality are quite overwhelming when currently, 17 million people are receiving social grants, mainly older persons and children, and this number continues to grow.

Only two million work opportunities were created by the Expanded Public Works Programme (EPWP) since 2014. EPWP jobs are however not permanent and do not provide much upskilling; this is hardly a victory for our country's shocking unemployment rate.

The ANC has adopted a radical strategy as it speaks directly to the rhetoric of the EFF and tries to win over its share of the electorate. Yet its focus should be on implementing the NDP, not trying to reclaim lost votes.

It is worrying that our country has all the plans in place and yet it cannot seem to get them off the ground despite the 100% buy-in from all sides of the political spectrum. This I say, is largely due to the fact that the ANC has to appease all of its alliance partners, all of the time.

The ANC has adopted a radical strategy as it speaks directly to the rhetoric of the EFF and tries to win over its share of the electorate. Yet its focus should be on implementing the NDP, not trying to reclaim lost votes.

But the truth is, whilst the ANC seeks to appease all its partners, be it business, civil society or alliance members, young people are the ones suffering from this uncaring organisation which seems to have forgotten that its legacy will be written with the signatures of the nine million unemployed.

South Africans and young people, such as myself, were sold yet another dream. We should be angry, we should call for action and we should rally to get the economy growing.

As young people, the 2019 election ballots we cast must be in the name of jobs and skills for fellow young people; in so doing we would be able to speak truth to power and incrementally fulfil the hopes, dreams and vision of the NDP.