Planning, implementation transforms society

Pretoria - Minister in the Presidency for Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation, Jeff Radebe, says mere production of plans does not constitute planning, it must be followed by rigorous implementation in order to transform society.

Addressing the Planning Africa 2016 Conference held in Sandton near Johannesburg, on Monday, the Minister said if producing plans were a measure of progress, South Africa would be much further ahead as a nation.

He said over the past 22 years, government has produced hundreds of planning documents at the national, provincial and local levels.

“We need to build on the lessons of the past 22 years and introduce policy and legislative reforms that address the contradictions between different legislations,” he said.

He also said government is beginning to implement the recently promulgated Spatial Planning and Land Use Management Act (SPLUMA).

SPLUMA seeks to ensure that spatial planning and land use management in the country is done in a way that encourages the growth of socially integrated communities, while at the same time making amenities accessible to everyone.

“The fact that we have this law in place is a major achievement which we must celebrate and support. It is by no means perfect and like all the others it will be amended as we go along drawing on lessons from practice,” said the Minister.

The Minister said the frameworks that govern planning in the country, while they have served well, have been shown to have some deficiencies which must be addressed.

“We now have the National Development Plan (NDP) which, as President Zuma said, is our roadmap for the next 20 years. It should guide all actions we take and decisions we make in government as well as in other sectors.

“It is heartening to hear everyone referencing the NDP in speeches, however planners have a duty to ensure that departments and all other institutions do not simply pay lip-service to the NDP; the plans and budgets of the various institutions must advance the goals of the NDP.

“This by implication means that planners have to have a deep understanding of the NDP,” said the Minister.

He said there has also been some policy ambiguity with regards to rural and urban development.

Minister Radebe said a number of programmes have been implemented in the past 22 years in a policy vacuum leading to some unintended consequences.