Commission to focus on job creation

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Cape Town - Government's major objective would be to secure full employment for all South Africans, said the Minister in the Presidency, who heads the National Planning Commission Trevor Manuel.

Manuel, who today briefed an ad hoc parliamentary portfolio committee meeting on responses to the Green Paper on the National Planning Commission, said there were too many unemployed people, especially those under 30 years old that had never held a job.

Any plan that was undertaken by the commission would have to have broad buy-in or it ran the risk of not being worth the paper it was written on, he said.

He said South Africans would also have to have the courage to make tough trade-offs, if the plan was to succeed.

He said most of the responses called for a long-term plan for the country and one which would take into account the lessons of other countries, while also paying attention to the country's own experience.

Existing forums such as Nedlac were critical to ensuring that stakeholders were part of the process, he said.

The Presidency was looking to the examples of Malaysia (Towards 2020 Vision) and South Korea (Vision 2030) which had both set up long-term plans and visions.

Manuel said there were various models that cabinet had considered for the National Planning Commission.

One option was a planning commission consisting of cabinet ministers, another was one where a national plan was developed by a group of "wise people" outside of government and a third was one where a plan was developed inside government through a consultative process and then taken to cabinet.

Manuel said the approach which cabinet has adopted was to have an expert panel of outsiders while creating a ministerial committee to provide political oversight and allowing cabinet to accept, reject or modify any plan.

South Africans lacked self-confidence and that a vision would get people talking and deepen their confidence in themselves and the country, he said.

He said most South Africans were in agreement on what the major issues were that faced the country.

"What holds us together, is more than what separates us," said Manuel.