Media release on the National Planning Commissionís release of the Diagnostic document and elements of the draft vision statement 2030
09 June 2011
Today the National Planning Commission (NPC) launches an engagement about our collective future as a nation. This engagement is based on our release today of a document that outlines our diagnostic of the central challenges towards more fully realising the vision expressed in our constitution.
The National Planning Commission was appointed by the President in April 2010 to, in his words, "take a broad, cross-cutting, independent and critical view of South Africa, to help define the South Africa we seek to achieve in 20 years time and to map out a path to achieve those objectivesĒ. The elements of the vision statement and the diagnostic report released today are steps in the process of developing a vision statement and a plan for consideration by Cabinet and the country.
The elements of the vision statement are drawn from the Preamble of the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, which are in turn drawn from the Freedom Charter. Through dialogue, consultation, debate and analysis, we hope to turn these elements into a vision statement for South Africa for 2030 that all South Africans can support.
The report recognises the tremendous progress made so far. Our transition from an apartheid state to a democratic one has been a relative success. Despite our successes, it is evident that more meaningful and rapid progress is needed towards reducing poverty and inequality. These two issues, eliminating poverty and inequality, constitute our main strategic challenges. Based on extensive research, engagement and consultation, the commission has identified nine challenges that constitute obstacles in meeting our objectives.
Of these nine challenges, we feel that two of them are more important. These are that too few South Africans are employed and the quality of education for most black people remains poor.
The other seven challenges are:
∑ Poorly located, inadequate and poorly maintained infrastructure
∑ Spatial challenges continue to marginalise the poor
∑ South Africa's growth path is highly resource-intensive and hence unsustainable
∑ The ailing public health system confronts a massive disease burden
∑ The performance of the public service is uneven
∑ Corruption undermines state legitimacy and service delivery
∑ South Africa remains a divided society.
Only 41 out of 100 adults are in employment, an unusually low ratio by international standards. Our analysis shows that the high level of unemployment affects young people disproportionately. There is also an urgent need to upgrade our economic and industrial infrastructure to support the needs of the existing economy, promote growth in newer, more labour-absorbing and knowledge-intensive sectors and improve the resource efficiency of our economy.
The performance of major parts of the schooling system remains poor. The legacy of apartheid education damaged the human potential of generations of South Africans. While we have made some progress, especially on access to education and equity in the funding of education, we have not made sufficient progress in improving the quality of schooling for the majority of black learners. The report also highlights that our health system is in distress. The high rates of HIV/AIDS and Tuberculosis, injuries and trauma, infant and maternal mortality, non-communicable diseases such as diabetes and heart disease are the principal factors that put our health system under severe strain.
The performance of the public service is uneven and the experience of public services by many poor people is substandard. Inadequate professional skills, weak management, poor systems and weak oversight and accountability contribute towards the uneven and often poor performance of the public service. These same issues, combined with social fragmentation and a breakdown in ethics in society, contributes to high levels of corruption which impedes government's ability to deliver services.
Today, the planning commission is releasing the elements of a vision statement, an overview of the diagnostic analysis and five diagnostic reports covering human conditions, material conditions, nation building, institutions and governance and the economy.
We invite all South Africans to participate in this process to define a shared vision for our collective future. The full report is available on www.npconline.co.za.
Mr Kuben Naidoo
Acting head of the secretariat
National Planning Commission.