The Devil is in the Detail

Posted on November 15, 2011

It takes a lot to fill the North Block Foyer at GIBS but Minister in the Presidency for National Planning Commission Trevor Manuel did just that last night during a fascinating address during which he discussed the National Planning Commission’s (NPC’s) National Development Plan Vision for 2030. Some 350 people jammed in to hear Manuel go into detail on some of the finer and more pressing areas outlined in the study. The message was loud and clear: The commission may be advisory in design but government risks ignoring the findings and recommendations at its peril. Key among the areas of national concern are joblessness, the state of education, healthcare, corruption and deficient infrastructure. With his trademark good humour and comic timing, Manuel tackled – and at times dodged – some tricky questions from the floor, including the issue of nationalisation. Addressing this sticky issue in his personal capacity, and not as chairman of the NPC, Manuel said: “I know if you own an asset you need to invest in it. If it’s between doing all these things (outlined in the report) or investing in mines … mines require very heavy investment. It’s not an emotional decision. It’s an economic choice.” All in all, the discussion was a stirring call to arms for the nation and an invitation to engage and debate the report – available at “There is a lot of content,” said Manuel of the 444-page report. “There are very clear targets and measurable objectives chapter by chapter. We need to invite South Africans to discuss the plan and get actively involved.”

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