SouthAfrica`s National Development Plan: A Vision for 2030

SouthAfrica`s National Development Plan: A Vision for 2030

TheSouth Africa`s National Development Plan (NDP) is a long-termblueprint for a quality future whose core objective is to attackpoverty and inequalities of all kind by the year 2030. It is a planto make South Africa a united nation in which no one lives inpoverty, where not even a single citizen goes famished and a countryin which everyone can access the ever- broadening employmentopportunities. NDP envisage South Africa as a place in which everyonetakes part in the struggle to free themselves from conditions thatimpede the blooming of their talents (South Africa: NDP, 2011).

Thisplan emphasizes on the desire to fortify the ability of the localgovernment to exercise a considerable authority in the developmentprocess. It focuses on building a developmental local government.This is a government that commits itself to working with the citizensand the various groups within the society to come up with sustainablemeans of meeting their social, economic and political needs andimprove the quality of life. According to the South Africa’s NDP,it is in the in the interest of the state that the local governmentis capacitated and transformed to play its developmental role. Theplan thus intends to use Integrated Development Plans (IDP’s) topay much attention to critical priorities outlined in the NDP, andthat relate to the mandates of the local government such as spatialplanning, infrastructure, and essential services.

Definitionof terms

NationalDevelopment Plan:It is a blueprint that describes the predetermined developmentobjectives and identifies the various roles that different sectors ofthe economy should play to reach the stated goals

Reconstructionand Development Program:It is a South African social-economic program to mobilize people andresources to eliminate apartheid and create a democratic, non-sexistand non-racial country.

Thevicious cycle of Poverty:It is a situation in which several integrated factors or events makespoverty perpetuate unless there is an external intervention once itstrikes.

Virtuouscircle of prosperity:It is a self-propagating advantageous situation in which asatisfactory solution leads to self-perpetuating positive effects

Developmentallocal government.This is a government that commits itself to working with the citizensand the various groups within the society to come up with sustainablemeans of meeting their social, economic and political needs andimprove the quality of life

Economicgrowth: It is the quantitative increase in the volume of goods and servicesproduced in a given country within a specified period usuallymeasured as the percentage increased in real Gross Domestic Productper capita. It is characterized by factors such as an expansion oftrade, growth in capital stock and high rate of total productivityamong others.

Economicdevelopment:It is the qualitative irreversible structural change in an economy.It is characterized by the adoption of new technologies, improvementin the living standards, an increase in the literacy level andtransition from an agricultural based economy to an industrializedeconomy.

Rationalefor the development of The National Development Plan in South Africa

TheSouth Africa`s National Development Plan was primarily developed tobuild on the shortcomings of the Reconstruction and DevelopmentProgram (RDP), which was created to spike on poverty andimpoverishment and to create a united nation free from discriminationby race and gender. The NDP program was meant to break theself-perpetuating vicious circle of poverty and turn it into avirtuous circle of prosperity. This is possible through the creationof employment opportunities, improved living standards for all,infrastructural development, provision of quality education andtraining and ensure greater accessibility to health care services.Other strategies include the provision of quality health care,attacking corruption by promoting accountability and transparency,transmogrify the society and promote national cohesion, creating acapable nation and ensuring a sustained robust economic growth anddevelopment among others.

Mostof these objectives have been decentralized and the local governmentsbeen given the mandates to execute these plans. The expecteddevelopmental outcomes of the local government include provision ofhousehold infrastructure and services, local economic development,the creation of liveable, integrated cities, towns and rural areasand community empowerment and redistribution among others.Nonetheless, in cases where the municipalities fail to develop theirstrategies to meet community needs and improve citizens` quality oflife, the national government may have to adopt a more prescriptiveapproach towards municipal transformation. With the currentadministrative and political climate in South Africa, most of thesuggested development plans have not been adequately met either bythe local or the national the national government. Unless bothgovernments act fast to fight against the impediments, South Africamay fail to achieve the expected developmental outcomes.

Provisionof household infrastructure and services

Householdinfrastructure and services are indispensable components of thesocial and economic development that the local government isresponsible for their provision. These services include clean waterand sanitation, well managed local roads, good storm water drainage,garbage collection and electrification among others. Other than beinga human right, decent basic services are essential to help personssupport their families, find employment or create their jobs anddevelop their abilities. Provision of household infrastructure andservices is critical to women and can make a big difference in theirlives than their counterparts. This is because women play a primaryrole in the domestic work which maintains the family and the localcommunity (Fosterand Garmendia, 2010).

Accordingto the South Africa’s National Development Plan, the localgovernment is expected to prioritize the delivery of at least oneessential service to citizens who are currently enjoying little orcompletely have no access to these services. This will be donethrough issuance of capital aids from Consolidated MunicipalInfrastructure Program or through mobilizing private investments inmunicipal infrastructure. The local government is also expected toensure that municipalities not only provide high-level services toresidents and businesses but also ensure that these services aresustainable on long term basis. This will be achieved by enabling themunicipalities to cover the capital costs of household infrastructureup to a basic level for low- income families.

Justlike most nations in Africa, South Africa has met a challenge inlocal governance as most the leaders in government positions do notadhere to the interest of the community but their political interest.Take, for instance, the situation that arose early April this yearwhen the South Africa`s highest court charged the president forbreaching the constitution by ignoring a court order to pay back thepublic funds he had used on his private mansion. This form ofleadership has trickled down to the local government where the localleaders have embezzled funds allocated for community developmentpractices. Strong leadership is key to eliminating poverty throughthe provision of better household infrastructure and services.Efficient leaders build an element of trust among citizens andpromote the spirit of hard work and national cohesion which is neededto alleviate poverty. With the current local leaders who lack apolitical goodwill to support the citizens in their efforts to fightagainst poverty, South Africa may not reach the targets set in theNational Development Plan.

Corruptionwithin the local governments has also become widespread since thereign of Nelson Mandela came to an end making it difficult toimplement the strategies stated in the National Development Plan tocombat poverty and inequalities. It is saddening to see that theruling elite has substantially deviated from the path of this greatman. According to Transparency International (2014), the CorruptionPerception Index (CPI) indicated that South Africa had sharplydropped in position when ranking corruption per country wasundertaken by 34 places since 2001, with about half of the drop (17places) occurring since 2009. Today, South Africa ranks at number 72out of 175 countries. It is also stated as one of the Africancountries with a noticeable increase in corruption since 2008.Corruption within our local governments has also been a contributingfactor to this drop. It is like corruption has been devolved from thenational government to the local government. However, the reason isvery simple. With a corrupt national governance system, the effect isexpected to trickle down to the local government.

Corruptionhas been with us ever since the beginning of history. It is likepervasive cancer or a plague that invades all sectors of the societythrough varying degrees. Corruption has been found to be evolutionaryand new forms arise in response to the anti- corruption strategies.It behaves like a virus that mutates to adapt to new environmentshence making it hard to fight against it. Nonetheless, it is possibleto kill corruption by uprooting it rather that treating its symptoms.There are various strategies that the South Africa’s government canuse to combat fraud that may restrain her from achieving theobjectives laid in the National Development Plan. Paying the civilservants well is one of these strategies. According to Van and Weder(2001), there is an inverse relationship between the incidences ofcorruption and the wages paid to them. In cases where the civilservants are grossly underpaid, there is a motivation or an incentivefor them to supplement their income in dubious methods. Another wayto fight against corruption is by creating transparency and opennessin government spending. South Africa is among many countries wheretransparency and accountability in the use of public funds are notfollowed. Collier (2007) states that the more open and transparent aprocess is, the lesser the chances for malfeasance and abuse.However, the local government cannot be open if the nationalgovernment is not. This is because some of the funds disbursed to thelocal government never reach their offices since they are withheld inthe nation state. In that case, the national government needs to playthe role model part in promoting transparency and accountability.Other measures include cutting the bureaucratic red tape, replacingregressive and distorting subsidies with targeted cash transfers,establishing international conventions and deploying smarttechnologies to detect incidences of corruption among others.

Localeconomic prosperity

Toensure full employment, the NDP focuses on generating about 11million new job opportunities and reduce unemployment by 6 percent bythe year 2030. Also, there is an anticipated increase in theworkforce participation rate by about 20%. According to this plan, tosolve the problem of unemployment, there is a need to pay attentionto various critical elements of job creation. These include qualityeducation outcomes, robust infrastructural development, a healthypopulation, safe communities, transparency, and accountability,strengthening the capability of the workforce through training and ofcourse a capable state (Nhamo,2014).

Thegrowth of the local economy is an important aspect of that heavilycontributes towards economic development. It is to the interest ofthe South Africa’s National Development Plan that the elaborationof the local economy is prioritized in the efforts to fight againstpoverty and inequalities of all kinds. The local government plays avery crucial role in the creation of entrepreneurial ventures and inthe process of promoting the local economy. This can be done byproviding useful services that make the rural areas an enticing placeto work and live in. To ensure local economic prosperity, the localgovernment need to review and reform the existing policies andprocedures and to provide unique commercial services to enable thecreation of employment opportunities and investments (SouthAfrica`s local government, 1997).

Thesuccess of small, medium and large enterprises rely on the activitiesof the local government and the regulations enacted by themunicipalities in several ways. For instance, procurement procedurescan be reviewed to increase the effect of corporate purchasing onemployment creation and the rural economy. More preference should goto the local suppliers and small businesses and specifically those inthe informal sector. It is the responsibility of the local governmentto ensure a sustained social and economic development of thesocieties. This gives municipalities mandates to issue specialfinancial services that are geared towards attracting potentialinvestors. Such services include marketing and investments support,subsidized production and provision of research and developmenttechnologies to particular sectors within the local economy that havea potential to expand.

Accordingto the International Monetary Fund (2015), South Africa may fail toreach their targets regarding creating 11 million job opportunitiesunless various structural reforms are put into place. Improvement oflabor market flexibility and accelerating education attainment aresome of the areas that require immediate changes since they relatedirectly to job creation. However, it has been observed that thesurvival rates of small and medium enterprises in South Africa areamong the lowest in the world. Inaccessibility to credit by theyouth, general crime rates and lack of access to land and otherfactors of production has attributed to this crippled survival ofsmall businesses.

Misallocationof resources within the local governments is also a menace in SouthAfrica. Resource allocation involves the assignment of availableresources to various uses. These resources include human, physicaland financial resources. Just like other developing nations, SouthAfrica is endowed with limited resources and thus the need tointelligently determine how they can allocate these resourcesefficiently among all municipalities in their order of need. However,due to poor governance, corruption and lack of political goodwill,the local governments tend to be grossly inefficient in the use andallocation of resources. This has created an atmosphere in whichcreation of 11 million employment opportunities is not possible bythe year 2030.

Toattain local economic prosperity, South Africa ought to increase itscampaigns against all predicaments that may hinder the creation ofthe 11 million job opportunities. For instance, the inaccessibilityto credit by the youth need to be brought to the end. The youth formsthe largest percent if the energetic and productive workforce andwhen they are left unemployed, they migrate to the urban areas andresolve into crime activities that bring down the economy. As thebanks practice selective credit control, the youth needs to be putinto a priority to enable them to start their own business that mayend up creating employment opportunities for others (Chivanga,2014)..Misallocation of resources can be dealt with through benchmarking incountries whose local governments have successfully been able toallocate their resources effectively and efficiently. However, mostof the misallocations in South Africa occur due to corruption andlack of political goodwill. We may benchmark as much as possible andfail to rectify this problem. Therefore there is a need first toscrutinize whether the problem is due to corruption or infectivenessof the leaders in the local government. In each case, the bestcorrective measure should be taken if we to drive our societiestoward economic prosperity.

Communityempowerment

TheNational Development Plan outlines that it is feasible to restrainpoverty and sharply diminish all forms of inequality by 2030. Thisplan suggests that to suppress poverty, the government need toconvince the citizens of South Africa who has lived in abject povertyfor centuries and have displayed eminent patience that it is possibleto undo the damages caused by poverty for centuries in a few decades.This is required to create a foundation for confidence, interest anddesire to achieve a prosperous life that anyone dream of. The bestoption to do that is by breaking the vicious circle of poverty andtransforming it into a virtuous cycle of prosperity through communityempowerment.

Communityempowerment focuses on enabling residents of a given society toincrease control over their lives. The local government is known tobe near the “ordinary citizen” and can easily influence theirlives. The South Africa’s NDP has a plan for community empowermentthrough the help of the local governments. There are three basicstrategies that the local authorities can use to achieve communityempowerment. Community organizing focuses on mobilizing residents tobattle against common challenges and increase their participation inthe process of decision making in case of projects that haveconsiderable effects on their livelihoods. Community- baseddevelopment aims at improving a region’s physical and economicconditions through the creation of employment opportunities,infrastructural development, and rehabilitation of housingfacilities. The other strategy to achieving community empower iscommunity- based provision of services. This technique concentrateson the delivery of social services that enable people to improvetheir livelihoods. These services include job training, parenting andchild care skills, immunizations and education among others (Thewhite paper on local government, 1998).

Informationasymmetry is one of the key factors that hinder communityparticipation and empowerment in South Africa. The local governmentofficials have consistently been failing to disseminate valuableinformation concerning development and implementation plans. Thisreduces people’s involvement in the process of planning anddecision making which results in projects that lack community’sback up. Lack of a common interest may deter the residents fromembracing and supporting development projects. This may restrain thefruition of the goals stated in the National Development Plan ofcombating poverty through increased community participation andcontrol over self-lives.

Theonly way to ensure proper dissemination of information is throughimproved follow-ups and appropriate supervision of the localofficials. Provision of wrong information or failure to provideinformation deliberately should be treated as a punishable offense.This will ensure that our local governments are more careful in theirprocess of decision making and planning and can only implement thoseprojects that have been unanimously agreed upon or have the majorityvote.

Creationof liveable, integrated cities, towns and rural areas

Spatialinterconnections among our cities, town and rural areas are verycrucial since it helps promote economic efficiency, facilitate theprovision of essential services, reduce commuting costs and enablesocial development. Integrated cities and township ensure mobilitybetween works, curb occurrence of crime and promote participation ofthe less fortunate groups within the society. The South Africa’sNDP entrusts the local governments to ensure the creation ofliveable, integrated cities, towns and rural areas through thecreation of better roads, network connections, and fastercommunication facilities. Integration makes it comfortable to liveand operate from the countryside. This will reduce crowding in theurban areas which result in pollution and other effects ofcongestion. Environmental friendly cities make it easy to do businessand attract foreign investors from all walks of life. This will alsohelp in the alleviation of the deep scars that apartheid planningleft on the spatial structure of our towns and townships (SouthAfrica`s local government, 1997).

Allis not lost for South Africa. There is still an opportunity torealize its vision since it is possible to undo the destruction doneover the centuries within a few decades. However, there is a need tocall for reforms within the national government as well as the localgovernment. This is because these two parties work hand in hand toattain the common interest. Where one government cannot performoptimally, the other need to chip in and act accordingly. In any casethat one of these governments is underperforming then the wholenation is stagnating or moving backward. Therefore, there is a needto intensify the fight against corruption because it is the root ofall problems crippling the National Development Plan. If we need tomake a better South Africa, we must treat the cause of failure notthe symptoms of failure.

References

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