Letter to Minister Gigaba



 by Steuart Pennington

Minister, Sir, in listening to your budget speech I was taken by your reference to Ben Okri’s poem “Poetic Flight” and the challenge of ‘remaking ourselves in order to remake the world around us’ and of ‘sowing what we want to harvest’.

My first question to you is, “What will the ‘harvest’ look like?”

My second is, “HOW will we get there?”

In my view your focus on ‘one of the most important achievements of the fourth democratic administration, a National Development Plan (NDP) developed five years ago’, was entirely appropriate.

But the challenge remains – delivery. In my newsletter below I have taken the 400 page NDP and tried to simplify it to one page. I hope this will contribute to understanding amongst all South Africans so that jointly we can embark on a delivery programme.

Most authors of ‘visions’ will agree that the first characteristic of a good vision statement is that it is simple, inspiring, and easy to remember, and that the second characteristic is that should be underpinned by +/- five goals with success measures (so you can remember them too) and delivery time-lines.

Sadly, your Medium Term Budget Policy Statement fell woefully short of the latter.

There were very few goals and no delivery time-lines. No wonder the Ratings Agencies are anxious.

I have tried to condense the National Development Plan Vision 2030 into two pages of clear goals and success measures as originally contained in the NDP, so that we know when we have arrived.

(Personally, I found the Vision statement of 1000 words waffly and vague, I condensed it to 40 words otherwise I have followed what was originally drafted in the NDP.)

I hope you agree that the ‘measures’ answer ‘yes’ or ‘no’ to whether we have ‘arrived’ or not.

 Our Vision

In 2030 we will live in a country which we have re-made. This achievement will ensure that we are ranked in the top 30 most competitive nations in the world in respect of the key economic, political and social measures of success.

Our Goals

Economic Prosperity

Success Measures:

  • To grow our economy at 5.5% annually and maintain inflation at 3 – 6%
  • To hold our debt to GDP ratio at below 30% and our deficit at less than 2% of GDP
  • To export more than we import in Rand value
  • To reduce unemployment to below 12% of those capable of work
  • To grow the SMME sector by 15% per annum
  • To improve our Labour Market Efficiency by delivering on the three pillars of the CEO Initiative and signing a ‘trust’ compact.

Democracy and delivery

Success Measures:

  • To be ranked in the top 20 countries globally in respect of press freedom
  • To ensure that every ministry delivers on its performance agreement with the President
  • To ensure that every national, provincial and local authority receives an unqualified audit annually
  • To properly discipline government officials and public servants who are found guilty of poor performance, graft, corruption and wasteful spending of public money.
  • To uphold the constitution, protect the independence and accountability of the judiciary, and ensure the separation of powers between the executive, the administration and the judiciary.

Sound infrastructure

Success Measures:

  • To ensure that our road, rail, port and air infrastructure are in good repair and expands to meet the needs of our economy and our people and ranks in the top 30 globally
  • To ensure our electricity grid reaches every home and every factory, is affordable and is 100% reliable
  • To manage our water resources, our land use policy, our energy requirements and our carbon footprint responsibly and with due consideration for the environmental challenges we face
  • To ensure our information and communications infrastructure ranks as the top 30 in the world and is accessible to every citizen

Population development and security

Success Measures:

  • To ensure that our food security requirements are met through the productive use of our arable land such that we are a net exporter of food
  • To ensure that every citizen has access to decent housing, potable water and reliable electricity
  • To provide both geographical and affordability access to clinics, hospitals and affordable medicines managed by caring nurses, doctors and administrators
  • To enable access to good schools for all our youth, staffed by trained and caring teachers and managed by principals who will guarantee a 90% matric pass rate and a less that 10% drop-out rate
  • To reduce the crime, infant mortality and road death rates by 7% per annum

Technological readiness.

Success Measures

  • To ensure that on the measure of ‘availability of latest technologies’ we rank in the top 20 countries in the world
  • To grow our current level of 15% internet users per 100 citizens to 40%
  • To grow our Broadband Internet subscriptions/100 pop to 40%
  • To ensure that every secondary school has internet access, a computer room, a library and electronically based learning methodologies
  • To ensure that 70% of our primary schools have internet access and then every child enters secondary school being able to read and numerate proficiently
  • To ensure that of our 30 000 schools the number that are dysfunctional reduces from the current 80% to 30%

Our Values

  • We are African, we are happy with who we are, we practice ubuntu, we respect each other
  • We are part of a community, we learn together, we look after each other, we are safe
  • We are diverse, we learn about it, we celebrate it, we share it
  • We are a people at work, we have dreams, we have opportunity, we have potential
  • We are proud of our country, we keep it clean, we abide by the law, we celebrate the good and we confront the bad
  • We acknowledge our dark past and how it divided us, but we stand together to build a bright future for ourselves and our children

 Minister Gigaba may I respectfully suggest that this Vision Statement become part of your ANC 2019 Manifesto;

  • That it be placed on the wall of very government department next to the picture of our President
  • That it forms part of every Minister’s Performance Agreement
  • That it be agreed with the CEO Initiative
  • That it be handed out to very child in every school and to teachers that can explain it
  • That progress against it be reported on annually in your Medium Term Budget Term Policy Statement
  • That progress be reported annually to the Ratings Agencies.