Trevor Manuel to head National Planning Commission

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Pretoria - Trevor Manuel is set to head up the powerful National Planning Commission, to be located in the Presidency.

Announcing the new structure and faces in his administration on Sunday, Mr Zuma said following extensive research on international models on how governments in other parts of the world plan and monitor performance, his party had decided to establish a National Planning Commission (NPC).

The NPC will be responsible for strategic planning for the country to ensure one National Plan to which all spheres of government would adhere.

"This would enable us to take a more comprehensive view of socio-economic development in the country," the new President said.

Mr Manuel is one of the longest serving ministers in government.

Following the first democratic elections in 1994, Mr Manuel was appointed Minister of Trade Industry.

In March 1996 he became Minster of Finance, and his work has been praised by all sectors of society for his forward-thinking policies which have largely cushioned South Africa against the global economic crisis.

On September 23, 2008, Trevor Manuel stepped down as Finance Minister along with a number of other cabinet members after the resignation of President Thabo Mbeki. However, shortly after, he announced that he would be willing to continue to serve under the next president.

His resignation had an unsettling effect on the country's financial market.

Mr Manuel remained in his post under former President Kgalema Motlanthe.

His political involvement started with the founding of the United Democratic Front (UDF) in the Western Cape. He subsequently became the regional secretary of the UDF and was later elected to the national executive.

He was detained and banned in September 1985. However, it was later found that the banning was not in line with the provisions of the Internal Security Act. He was detained twice again and released under severe restrictions.

Meanwhile, President Zuma named Pravin Gordhan as the country's new finance minister.

Nhlanhla Nene remains as Deputy Minister of Finance.

Mr Gordhan, not a member of parliament (MP) has been commissioner of the South African Revenue Service (SARS) since 1999.