The School of Public Leadership, Stellenbosch University, hosted a conference on 21-23 November 2013 on how to implement the National Development Plan. Entitled Making National Development Work: From Design to Delivery, the initiative was led by Prof Erwin Schwella and brought together a wide range of government departments, provincial and local governments, businesses, researchers and NGOs.
Many emphasized the need for implementation and action. However, this was not the familiar theme of ‘we have good policies, but we dont implement properly’ – instead it was agreed that if policies are adopted that are not implemented, then they were not good policies to start off with. Mark Swilling delivered a keynote address on the ‘sustainability view of the NDP’. The theme was Chapter 5 of the NDP that calls explicitly for a ‘just transition’ to a more ‘sustainable development pathway’. Interestingly, only one delegate said he had read Chapter 5, and he worked for the National Planning Commission.
This reflects the fact that most people see the NDP as being about governance, economic growth and social inclusion. What they forget is that it is also about a just transition to a more sustainable low carbon development approach that could lead the way in Africa.