Cape Town - South Africa needs to take tough decisions
involving compromise and trade-offs, according to the revised National
Development Plan (NDP) handed to President Jacob Zuma on Wednesday.
The document contains recommendations to government by the
National Planning Commission (NPC) on how to tackle the country's challenges
over the next 20 years.
Key proposals on the economy and employment include raising
exports, while taking steps to prevent excessive overvaluation of the currency.
The 484-page document also calls for improving skills
development, and breaking disincentives to hiring young people, as well as
increasing competition and breaking monopolies.
The NDP also says there is a need for the high cost of
transport and logistics to be addressed, in a bid to tackle spatial divides.
It also focuses on strengthening the social wage in order to
raise the living standards of the unemployed and those with lower paying jobs.
"Rising rates of investment will be achieved initially
through state spending on infrastructure. The focus needs to be on
infrastructure that promotes efficiency in the economy, and reduces costs for
business and for individuals."
Labour market reforms are included in the NDP, but no
drastic overhaul is suggested. Proposals on reducing tensions in the labour
market are modest.
The public sector is the largest employer and the plan
recognises the damage the current manner of managing disputes in essential
services, such as health, education and policing, does not foster productivity.
"The current system neither discourages strike action,
nor inspires confidence in other ways of addressing disputes and grievances.
"The determination of appropriate sanctions are
required where essential services and minimum service level agreements are not
"Similarly, expectations of the state as employer to
implement agreements on wages and conditions are required, and appropriate
sanctions set where these are not implemented timeously."
Among the NDP's more ambitious targets is decreasing
unemployment to 14% by 2020, and 6% by 2030. The plan says this could be
achieved through the promotion of employment in labour absorbing industries.
"Some 90% of jobs will be created in small and
In order for this to happen, regulatory reform would be
needed to drive entrepreneurship, and the cost of doing business would have to
The NDP also proposes some short- to medium-term
interventions on how the country should respond to the current global economic
"Government needs to build in macro-policy to enable
South Africa to counteract the effects of the financial crisis," it
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