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National Development Plan has been lagging, says Stellenbosch University researcher

NDP to eliminate poverty and reduce inequality by the year 2030 had been lagging, said Dr Nelia Orlandi. Picture: Tracey Adams/African News Agency (ANA)

NDP to eliminate poverty and reduce inequality by the year 2030 had been lagging, said Dr Nelia Orlandi. Picture: Tracey Adams/African News Agency (ANA)

Published Sep 2, 2020

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Cape Town - The implementation of the National Development Plan (NDP) to eliminate poverty and reduce inequality by the year 2030 had been lagging, said Dr Nelia Orlandi, a researcher from Stellenbosch University (SU).

Orlandi said the NPD could only be implemented successfully if there was a better alignment between departmental plans and budgets and government policies.

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The plan, which calls on all South Africans - from the political elite to the man in the street - to work together to eliminate poverty and reduce inequality by the year 2030, was handed to former President Jacob Zuma at a joint sitting of Parliament in 2012.

It contained a broad range of policy proposals describing what needed to be done to ensure the country's success over the medium to long term.

Essentially a development blueprint, the plan warned that with current rates of development the country risked sliding backwards and being overwhelmed by its immense challenges. To avoid this, “step changes” in 13 areas of public and private life were proposed.

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These included the need to grow the economy and drastically raise employment levels, improve the quality of education, provide the necessary infrastructure, curb corruption, unite a still divided society, and improve the quality and reach of health services.

Orlandi said she identified possible impediments to the successful implementation of the NDP and made recommendations that could help facilitate the process.

She said she also proposed a model to evaluate the success or failure of the implementation processes of government policies including the NDP.

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Orlandi said implementation challenges included problems with the coordination of the planning, budgeting and organisational processes within government departments, budget estimates not expressing policy prioritisation and performance indicators that did not provide an effective basis for measurement and management.

“My analysis of relevant planning documents and performance data showed that the challenge for successful policy implementation is the relationship of the NDP requirements with planning, budgeting and reporting in the government's performance management system.

“When looking at the 2014-2019 Medium Term Strategic Framework (MTSF), the first of three five-year implementation plans for the NDP, I found that not all planning concepts are in line with the planning concepts of the standard accountability, planning and budgeting documents of government.”

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She said those differences created confusion among managers who were responsible for the development of performance and operational plans, budgets and outputs.

In his weekly newsletter yesterday, President Cyril Ramaphosa said as the NDP reminded people that a capable developmental state could not be created by decree. “It has to be built, brick by brick, institution by institution, and sustained and rejuvenated over time.”

“Our ability to steadily acquire a high level of capability as envisaged by the NDP is a defining characteristic of what a capable developmental state should have to become an economically prosperous, socially inclusive and a well-governed state that is able to meet the needs of our people,” he said.

Cape Argus

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