Finance Minister, Pravin Gordhan, presented the country’s Medium Term Budget Speech on Wednesday in Cape Town where he stated that progress is being made in the roll-out of the National Development Plan (NDP).
The NDP was adopted by government last year and aims to eliminate poverty and reduce inequality by 2030 through objectives such as growing an inclusive economy, deepen democracy and enhancing the capacity of the state.
Gordhan explained that government is set to achieve these goals through initiatives such as expanding electricity, job creation, addressing challenges in mining and community development and strengthening public service delivery.
“So we have a plan and we now have to track progress, year by year, in its implementation,” he said.
Two projects currently underway that have assisted in implementing the NDP is the construction of the Medupi and Kusile power stations, both which will have a production capacity of 4,800 megawatts each.
In addition, the Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Programme setup by government and the private sector is a combination of 47 projects to be completed by 2016.
The programme includes a 74 megawatt solar plant in the Northern Cape as well as two wind farms in the Eastern Cape, all of which will be connected to the national power utility, Eskom’s, transmission’s grid.
These projects are steps towards addressing the electricity shortages which South Africa is currently experiencing.
The upgrading and development of rail capacity is also another initiative making headway that will improve the commuting experience for millions of people.
“Rail capacity is being expanded to support manganese and coal exports. Over the next 12 years, we will replace more than 300 trains for the two million people who use Metrorail every day,” said Gordhan.
President Jacob Zuma also recently launched the Bridge City project, which brings together public and private investment to create a new urban centre linking the communities of Phoenix, Inanda, Ntuzuma and Kwamashu, north of Durban.
In terms of job creation, he added, a revised Tax Incentive Bill will be introduced in Parliament on Thursday as part of a multi-pronged approach to expand working opportunities, especially for the youth.
“The evidence on this is very clear, if young people find work within a reasonable timeframe after leaving school this greatly improves their lifetime career prospects,” he said.
The Jobs Fund has also approved allocations of 3.4 billion rand to more than 60 projects, which will generate 90,000 permanent jobs and about 100,000 training opportunities over the period ahead.
“These are just some ways in which implementation of the National Development Plan is proceeding. In many cases, it builds on initiatives that were already under way. In other areas, new programmes or reform proposals are being introduced,” explained Gordhan.
“These are steps towards faster, more inclusive growth – and these are all areas in which private sector and civil society involvement is no less important than the role played by government.”