'Focus on radical economic transformation to detriment of NDP'
Share this article:
Deputy chairman of the National Planning Commission Professor Malegapuru Makgoba has raised eyebrows with his comments that government is splashing money on expensive cars instead of prioritising the implementation of the National Development Plan (NDP).
He said people’s focus on the NDP had been distracted by debate on radical economic transformation and “whether the monopoly capital was white or colourless”.
Makgoba, who is also the Health Ombudsman, presided over the investigation into the more than 100 Esidimeni patients who died in Gauteng last year.
He made the controversial remarks on the NDP while addressing an annual memorial lecture on former black business icon Don Mkhwanazi on Monday night in Durban.
He was hosted by the Black Management Forum, which is known to be supportive of President Jacob Zuma.
In the planning body, Makgoba is deputy to Jeff Radebe, the minister of planning, monitoring and evaluation, which is the department in charge of overseeing the implementation of the NDP by various departments.
Yesterday Radebe’s office declined to respond to Makgoba’s assertions, saying that it had not received an official complaint from the commission, which advises government on policy matters.
Zuma’s spokesperson, Bongani Ngqulunga, declined to comment and referred the matter to Radebe.
Makgoba told the audience that the government had in 2012 adopted the NDP, and five years down the line “we are yet to see the national budget of our country being prioritised to underpin the recommendation of this important national transformation plan”.
“We have a plan, we like it very much, we take it to Parliament, the whole world praises it and we are the ones that don’t implement it. You cannot deliver a plan without resources, and the only resources we have as the government is the national budget, but we have the national budget doing something else, either buying cars for ministers or cellphones but at the same time you actually want to transform the country.”
He said instead of prioritising the NDP, the government had allowed itself to be distracted by “petty and sexy slogans such as white monopoly capital or radical economic transformation, but most of us cannot even understand how to define them.”
“Three months down the line another word comes in and we forget that one. So we are always chasing things that are a distraction to the main focus of what we should be doing as a South African nation,” Makgoba said.
But Radebe said about 1.4 trillion had been allocated for the NDP and the government, through his Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation Department, was working on identifying “most priorities that must take centre stage in the allocation of the budget”.
“In the next week or so, we are going to be seeing the fruit of that work that government, together with the national planning commission, is doing.”
Makgoba said South Africa was facing economic and future direction crises. “South Africans have a gift of the gab as we are good at talking, very poor at doing. There are dark clouds hovering around us as a nation.”
He spoke of “vultures and hyenas” which are manifesting themselves in “our society in a form of scandals and Gupta leaks”.