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The dark side of the NDP

Thursday, July 18th, 2013

The Solidarity Research Institute (SRI) today released a commentary titled The dark side of the National Development Plan (NDP). Following a careful study of the 500-page NDP, the SRI found that there are several reasons why the plan should not be supported. These reasons include a radical model of land reform, ambiguity regarding the transformation of the judiciary and a greater tax burden. The commentary forms part of the July edition of the SRI’s quarterly labour market report that will be released tomorrow.

Piet le Roux, senior economic researcher at the SRI, says the NDP is undeniably the government document in South Africa that is quoted the most and that receives the widest support among government officials and a broad spectrum of other political parties, business people and nongovernmental organisations. The SRI’s reaction comes after the recent analysis of the NDP by the South African Institute of Race Relations (SAIRR). The SAIRR rejects the plan as unworkable, contradictory and a blank cheque for more taxation.

The SRI’s analysis identifies four aspects relating to the darker side of the NDP:

  1. Why the ANC supports the NDP

One of the reasons why the ANC supports the NDP is because it furthers the National Democratic Revolution (NDR). It is therefore likely that, in practice, the NDP will be interpreted in accordance with the NDR. The NDR is the ANC’s broad strategic orientation to gain control over all centres of power in South Africa, to redistribute wealth and income and to implement its idea of racial transformation.

  1. The NDP and the judiciary

The NDP calls for the transformation of the judiciary, but it is unclear just what this transformation should entail. The NDP reads as follows: ‘For the law to be an agent of change, it must be interpreted and enforced in a progressive, transformative fashion. This requires a judiciary that is progressive in its philosophy and legal inclinations.’ It still remains to be seen whether Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng’s recent utterances about the transformation of the judiciary, in which he railed against opposition to transformation, are incompatible with the NDP’s proposals.

  1. Radical land reform

The NDP proposes a radical model for land reform. It suggests that 20% of commercial agricultural land in South Africa must be transferred to black farmers and that the state should reimburse the farmers for only 50% of the market value of the expropriated land.

  1. More taxes, redistribution and social welfare services

As with all government projects, finance for the NDP’s implementation must be obtained from the private sector through greater taxation, inflation or borrowing. The NDP states the following: ‘Ultimately, the state must generate sufficient income from the active groups in the population to be able to redistribute to those who are less active or inactive…’

For the complete commentary on the NDP click here.

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