ZA Confidential called in this evening on an event hosted by John Kane-Berman, the CE of the South African Institute of Race Relations (SAIRR) – in which the National Development Plan (NDP) was discussed and dissected. And savaged.

Here are a few highlights…….

The NDP is, of course, the government’s current blueprint for saving us all, growing the economy and giving hope to all poor and jobless South Africans. It is the basis of government policy until 2030. But should it be?

Kane-Berman told a sold-out function in Johannesburg that the SAIRR has conducted a thorough analysis of the NDP.

So what is it seeking to achieve? Key targets are combatting poverty, inequality and unemployment. Households below poverty line should fall to zero and unemployment should fall from 25 percent to 6 percent, and inequality should also fall.

Youth unemployment poses greatest single risk to social stability.

Jobs must increase from 13m to 24m. This means that in each year to 2030, 550 000 jobs must be created each year. “We are in very ambitious territory.”

The SAIRR believes that much of this growth means reliance on lower-paid jobs, mostly from the private sector.

It warns the NDP suggests land reform will boost agriculture, with little evidence for this.

Mining: the NDP predicts high commodity prices in next few years – a rather unwise assumption.

Infrastructure will require 827bn rand over next 5 years… But spending is dependent on the state, which hasn’t always been effective in spending.

Labour market: the NDP backs regulation in the labour-broking sector, which is an important source of employment for young people?

Kane-Berman is adamant….


On healthcare ….there is mention of traditional healers but not of private hospitals. “An extraordinary omission.”

On housing, the SAIRR welcomes a suggestion of housing vouchers, which it thinks should be extended to schooling and healthcare.

On BEE, the NDP not only endorses the ANC’s policies of racial engineering, but seeks more robust enforcement, which can mean fines of 10% of turnover, or imprisonment.

Carbon taxes are likely to push up energy costs, and the NDP favours carbon taxes.

“This document is a development plan, it’s not a job creation plan.

If job creation is so important, one would have expected a more simple-minded approach to this problem.”

Conspicuous by its absence is a chapter on how all this is going to be paid for, Kane-Berman warns.

Really, to endorse the NDP, amounts to giving the government a blank cheque.

What is proposed is the nationalisation of the land under the guise of land reform.

There is no command centre to implement the NDP.

Infrastructure crumbling, or abysmal or in crisis – the NDP fails to follow through by shifting more and more of the burden on the private sector.

In the end the NDP is neither fish nor fowl. It seems to be trying to appease all sorts of constituencies.

What we need is economic liberalization… “Who was it who said the economy only grows at night when the government goes to sleep?”

We need comprehensive deregulation…wholesale privatisation.

The solution is obvious…hand over as much as possible to the private sector.

There are very slim chances government will adopt these policies.

But in the longer term, government will have no choice.

The National Party liberalised because it had no choice. The ANC will also find it has no choice….

This plan has no price tag and is bound to fail.

The overriding issue is jobs for poor people.

Our unemployment problem requires radical, not half-baked solutions.

The answers may lie in economic policy, but the issue is actually a moral one.

In answer to questions….

If job creation means more sweat shops, that is where we must go.

We should sell SAA to the highest bidder, and sell all the power stations.

You can bet all the members of the National Planning Commission are members of private medical aid schemes. Why can’t they consider extending it further?

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