The new national planning commission shows an emerging consensus, but could be hampered by the current government, says DA leader Helen Zille.
The national planning commission’s national development plan (NDP) points to an emerging consensus at the non-racial, progressive centre of South African politics, Democratic Alliance leader Helen Zille said on Wednesday.
“The developing policy coherence on the fundamental issues facing South Africa is an exciting and significant development,” she told reporters at Parliament.
But Zille warned the NDP would struggle to get off the ground under the current government.
The NDP emphasised ideas such as growth and prosperity as the best way to fight poverty and unemployment, and involving individuals and communities in their own development.
It required the state to extend opportunities to all through excellent education and other essential services—and create the right conditions for investment and job creation driving a virtuous cycle of sustained development.
It proposed moving from a passive to an active citizenry and developing people’s own capacity to pursue lives they valued.
“And this is exactly why the NDP will struggle to get off the ground under the current ANC government,” Zille said.
“The ANC’s alliance partners and the populists in the youth league will almost certainly block the implementation of the plan for reasons of ideology and self-interest.”
Even if the essential elements of the plan survived the ANC’s “internal warfare”, they could not be translated into action unless they were “landed” in government, Zille added.
Putting a plan into practice was always the greatest challenge.
For this plan to succeed it should not only be accepted as a policy framework by government, but each element should be translated into an action plan with clear targets and time frames, which were reflected in the line items of the annual budget, managed and measured by competent officials and committed politicians.
“For the reasons identified in the diagnostic that led to this plan its translation into action seems highly unlikely. This is a great pity,” Zille said.
The DA agreed, in sum, with much of the philosophical and strategic thrust of the NDP, much of which was already being introduced in DA-led administrations.
“We expect the NDP to be catalytic in the realignment of South African politics because, like the secrecy Bill, it transcends traditional party lines.”
Those who supported the NDP believed in expanding opportunities for all so that people could use them to live lives they valued.
Those who resisted it believed a state should determine the distribution of opportunities and control their outcomes, Zille said. - Sapa