Opening remarks by His Excellency President J G Zuma at the Inaugural Meeting of the National Planning Commission, Union Buildings, Pretoria
11 May 2010
It is an honour to address this inaugural meeting of the National Planning Commission.
This is indeed an historic occasion. It is with much anticipation that the country has awaited the establishment of this Commission.
For the first time in our country’s history we will begin to chart our way forward in a purposeful manner with a view to the country’s long-term interests.
I would like to extend a very special welcome to our newly-appointed Commissioners. It is a pleasure to meet all of you in person. Read More…
Statement by President Jacob Zuma on the appointment of Commissioners to the National Planning Commission; Presidential Guesthouse, Pretoria, April 30 2010
Last year we announced that the new administration would do things differently and would work consistently to change the way government works, in order to improve service delivery.
A key aspect of this exercise was to introduce effective planning as well as monitoring and evaluation capacity in the Presidency, to guide these functions in government.
Today we are pleased to announce the names of the members of the National Planning Commission, who are tasked with producing a national development plan and development vision statement for the country.
TODAY, The Times front page marked 20 years since Nelson Mandela’s release. We carried a front page story on how the entire country would celebrate the event.
We carried an advertisement in our masthead for an insightful, moving article by Trevor Manuel looking back on 11 February 1990.
We carried a picture of Mandela’s statue outside the Groot Drakenstein prison against a wonderful blue sky dotted with clouds.
And, to the disappointment of some, we carried an advertisement for socialite Khanyi Mbau’s condom test which we ran in our center spread.
The disappointed wanted to know why The Times would spoil a good package on Mandela with a puff about condoms.
The answer is simple: South Africa, while it has much to celebrate, remains in the grip of an awful Aids epidemic which continues to take the lives of young and old alike.
Sonorous appeals by elder statesmen are not going to persuade this generation to use condoms. It’s going to take the word of a socialite like Mbau, who bravely admitted to contracting a sexually transmitted disease in our article, to do it.
The time for squeamishness and moralising has long passed. We need to do all we can to continue to hammer home the message about how to avoid contracting this deadly disease and we dare not slacken off, even when pressing national issues appear to be “more important”.
Khanyi Mbau putting out a message about safe sex is as important a message as that celebrating the anniversary of Mandela’s release. Perhaps more so, because it talks to the future.
Here’s a transcript of Trevor Manuel answering questions on the revised Planning Commision at a briefing on Friday:
Questions and answers:
Journalist: Minister you say that this followed the process of consultation and also parliamentary processes. What kind of reaction are you expecting on this Green Paper because if you remember the first Green Paper drew a reaction from various sectors now this time around based on the fact that people were consulted what kind of reaction are your expecting? Read More…
National Planning Commission
15 January 2009
On 12 August 2009, Cabinet approved the release of the Green Paper: National Strategic Planning for public consultation. Following an extensive consultative process involving Parliament, public comment and discussions in Cabinet, this Green Paper was revised.
Today, we are releasing the revised Green Paper (http://www.info.gov.za/view/DownloadFileAction?id=115174) that was approved by Cabinet in December last year. The Green Paper is more limited in its focus, dealing exclusively with the work of the National Planning Commission. Read More…
Minister for planning, Trevor Manuel has called for nominations to a 20-strong National Planning Commission to plot how government resources can be best used to address South Africa’s development needs.
In his words: “The show is on the road, today we call for nominations… we want very smart people, very committed people in the NPC.”
But he also announed that the commission would no longer have executive powers and would report to Cabinet where decisions would be made. “We have taken out executive functions, we can’t remove executive powers from cabinet,” he said.
This addresses strong criticism by the left of the original proposal and suggests that, at the end of the day, planning will be subjected to political horsetrading.
This is dissapointing as it will undermine the ability of planners to make unpopular changes such as the re-allocation of resources between government departments and the re-organisation of the executive itself.
2010 is here and it is going to be a fantastic year for South Africa. We will host a very successful World Cup and we will believe that we are a winning nation that is taking its rightful place on the world stage.
Zuma’s used his New Year’s message to call on the nation to communicate only “positive messages“. His words were: “The year 2010 must be the year in which for the first time, we all communicate positive messages about our country to the world – the successes and possibilities. We have to put the culture of negativity behind us.”
Nice. But unfortunately, we have problems, very serious ones that must be aired. I’m sure the world – that part of it which we admire at any rate – would rather see a country where criticism is encouraged and tolerated than one which bursts at the seams with false admiration for itself. Read More…
The ANC put its foot down and finally got its left allies in Cosatu and the SACP to agree that Trevor Manuel will run the planning show.
They had objected to Manuel, saying he was a member of Thabo Mbeki’s conservative “class project”. They wanted someone more in turne with their thinking to run the planning commission.
But yesterday, they put their names to a joint statement which included this paragraph:
“In particular, we agreed that there is a need for the NPC to be located in the Presidency, which will be chaired by the minister in the Presidency for the NPC [Manuel] and whose main responsibility will be to ensure integrated strategic planning across government.”
The ANC’s Gwede Mantashe said the Manuel’s role “is now settled”.
This from Cosatu president Sdumo Dlamini: “We support the call that the NPC should be located within the Presidency. It is now settled. It’s no longer an issue.”
YESTERDAY the ANC ignored pressure from the left and announced that Planning Minister, Trevor Manuel, would be the boss of government’s new Planning Commission.
Cosatu and others have been calling for Manuel to be confined to barracks while the Economic Development Minister, Ebrahim Patel takes charge of financial planning.
Manuel was recently edged out of Cabinet’s economic cluster and it seemed he was on his way out. Now it seems that Zuma has decided to play both sides.
How sustainable is this and what will happen once the Planning Commission actually starts making plans? They are likely to be heavily contested within the ANC, perhaps even on the streets.
This from our story:
ANC secretary-general Gwede Mantashe said yesterday that party leaders had “agreed” that a commission would be established in terms of the agreements reached with Cosatu and the SACP at the last alliance summit, held last year.
“Everything that emerges now that is falling outside of what we agreed on [in] those important meetings of the alliance and the ANC are irrelevant.
“There will be a planning commission chaired by the minister in the presidency [and] it will be constituted by external experts. That is the model that we will have of the National Planning Commission.
“It is not new, it is what we had agreed, and we are not going to shift from that and do other things,” Mantashe said.
The decision to keep Manuel in the driving seat of the commission is likely to dominate the alliance summit, which runs from Friday to Sunday, with Cosatu and the SACP trying to overturn it.
MINISTER in the presidency, Trevor Manuel has admitted that the purchase of a R1,2 million car for his official use “was an error of jugdement”.
He was replaying to a question about the R45 million that ministers and premiers have spent on official cars under the new administration.
It’s a start and Manuel deserves praise for being prepared to suck it up and admit to a mistake.
His fellow ministers should do the same if government is to have any hope of enforcing its planned cutback on government spending on perks and luxuries.
A strong message must be sent to the public service that there will be no gravy train rewards for those who work for the state.
The crisis is very real. South Africa has enjoyed a decade of increased tax receipts which have reduced the need for borrowing and even allowed the state to cut taxes.
Those days are over and it will be a long time before we enjoy such good fortune again.
The equation is simple: Either government contains spending or we will have to borrow or increase taxation to fund the public purse.
In this context, government officials need to lead from the front by demonstrating the sort of austerity that has been forced on citizens by economic contraction.
Spending on cars, hotels and the like may not amount to much as a portion of total public spending but it sends the wrong signal to the public about government’s attitude to spending.
Manuel has said the right thing. Now government must show resolve and prove it has halted the gravy train.