Parliament, Cape Town –
Opposition parties described the National Development Plan as historic, exciting and commendable in the National Assembly on Wednesday.
But party leaders voiced doubts over the government’s will and ability to act on development proposals.
Democratic Alliance parliamentary leader Lindiwe Mazibuko welcomed the plan.
“We believe the plan’s success or failure will entirely depend on if the president will rise to the challenge of aligning his policies with the goals and objectives of the NDP,” she said.
The DA agreed the high unemployment rate and poor quality of education were two of the country’s most urgent problems.
Mazibuko questioned whether the government could convince players like the Congress of SA Trade Unions and SA Communist Party to buy-in to the plan.
“Many of the ideas proposed in the NDP are rooted in an analytical framework that clashes with the beliefs and ideology of the ANC’s alliance partners,” said Mazibuko.
Congress of the People leader Mosiuoa Lekota said he was excited about the contents of the initiative. However, he also questioned whether the government had the ability to deliver on its objectives.
“Cope asks for the refined plan to be implemented against a tight time-frame and against a greater level of accountability,” said Lekota.
Improving the state’s ability found favour with Cope.
“Lack of resources has never been as severe a problem in our country as the lack of capability. In other words, we are referring here to the lack of ability within a large segment of the public service to perform required actions to the level required, because of a lack of expertise and capacity.”
Inkatha Freedom Party leader Mangosuthu Buthelezi thanked Manuel and the commissioners for their work. Buthelezi however raised doubts on whether the plan would bear fruit.
“I wish to raise the IFP’s concern on the implementation of this commendable plan.”
African Christian Democratic Party leader Kenneth Meshoe said while he supported the NDP’s central proposals for capability and a developmental state, social cohesion and nation building should have been given higher priority.
“The plan should have boldly addressed the fears and uncertainties that still exist, so all cultural and racial communities can accept it.”
The Freedom Front Plus said the plan contained many dreams and suggestions that gave hope. However, the party warned there were three “red lights” that could it to fail.
This included the need for a capable civil service.
“There are many competent government officials. I work with some of them daily. But, there are just as many incompetent officials who have been appointed by means of affirmative action policies to positions which they are not at all suited or qualified for,” FF Plus leader Pieter Mulder said.
Mulder said the plan clashed with what some senior African National Congress and alliance leaders were advocating.
“The focus at the ANC’s June policy conference was on everything except this plan,” he said. – Sapa