IN 2012, the South African Parliament and the Cabinet approved the National Development Plan (NDP) Vision 2030.
All parties represented in Parliament welcomed the plan; it was hailed as what was needed to deal with great problems of poverty, unemployment and inequality.
With 12 years left before 2030, and six years having passed since the euphoria of the “grand plan”, what progress has been made? Or was the plan nothing but a placebo to raise the threshold of frustration of many who linger in poverty and exclusion?
One way to look at this is to focus on Chapter 13 of the plan, which seeks to build a capable and developmental state.
According to the NDP, a capable and developmental state is the mechanism needed to improve the quality of lives of citizens. However, there is now overwhelming evidence that the state is far from being developmental, at least in as far as conditions associated with the East Asian countries are concerned.
The first condition of a developmental state is effective political leadership able to define national agenda, reign in administrative officials if they digress from priorities and, with the assistance of the technically gifted bureaucracy, steer the market.
In our case, we have seen appointments of individuals as ministers, premiers, members of executive councils, mayors and councillors for reasons other than capacity and competency.
This largely derives from the ANC becoming a confederation of factions instead of a developmental, coherent party that gives directional thrust to the State apparatus. The institutionalisation of confederations of factions is what we saw in the outcomes of the 54th National Conference of the ANC under the sham of unity, with increasing signs of a guaranteed president.
The revelations by those who have already appeared at the Zondo Commission confirm that our dream of a developmental state is stillborn.
The most difficult question is whether the country needs a strong mass party like the ANC or power that is fluid like in the coalition metros. The former is ideal for developmentalism while the latter has proven that the country is not ready for coalition politics because of lack of development ideology.
Pictured: Dr David Mohale
Source: Sunday Independent