It has been almost six years since the National Planning Commission, then led by former Finance Minister Trevor Manuel and deputised by a businessman and political activist by the name of Cyril Ramaphosa, presented their plan to the nation.
Almost everyone who took the time to read and analyse the National Development Plan agreed that it was the most far-reaching and ambitious plan to grow South Africa’s economy in the way that we all know it can.
Six years later and we are almost one-third through the term of the NDP, which proposed significantly reduced unemployment, inequality and poverty by 2030. Part of the reason for the slow progress we have made to date could be attributed to the misrule that we have seen in government for the past nine years.
But now that we have a new President, one who was part of drawing up the NDP, we are able to again focus on the work that needs to happen to rebuild South Africa’s economy. If we do not grow our economy, we will never be able to do all the other things that we should do as a nation.
Despite the lack of progress over the past six years, there have been people, some in government and some in the private sector, who have diligently gone about trying to improve the lives of the most vulnerable in our society.
The importance of the Vision 2030 Summit is to look at what has been done, in government and in the private sector, to advance the goals of the NDP. But we intend to do more than just acknowledge the work that has been done. We also seek to celebrate it.
The only way for South Africa to progress is if all of us play a role. Too often in the past, we have pointed fingers at each other and blamed each other when things have not gone well. Through this summit and awards we seek to move beyond that and find ways in which government and the private sector can work together for the greater good of our society.
In this year when we celebrate the centenary of Nelson Mandela, let us all reflect on what still needs to be done to take our country forward – and the role that each of us can play in making it happen. Let us all heed the call of President Ramaphosa when he quotes the late great Hugh Masekela: “Thuma Mina (Send me)”.
Congratulations to all of the awards winners and know that everyone else here would not have been here, if they did not share your vision and your willingness to make the NDP a reality. We have all agreed that we want to be sent.