“The fact that it was taken around the country and it was accepted by the overwhelming majority of this country must comfort any democrat. Unless you are not a democrat,” Zuma told reporters at the Union Buildings in Pretoria.
“If you say no matter what the majority says, and my view is different, my view should follow, then you are not a democrat but you’re something else.”
He said government was already implementing the plan amidst the critics’ calls because the workers concerns were attended to.
“There are people with views, but we couldn’t wait because some people have views. I don’t think we should worry. Workers had an opportunity to debate this, to raise their issues and they were responded to,” said Zuma.
“If it needs more responses, then we will do so. One day if we see the point, I don’t think it will be difficult for us to say ‘now we see the point’. Perhaps we don’t see the point now.”
He said implementation of the contentious NDP was in line with sticking to the principles and dictates of democracy.
“If you were to say we deviate from what people are accepting broadly and begin to entertain the views that are made by sectors, then you can destroy the plan. I’m sure people will have views about this and that one
“If you take government, for example, it has policies and programmes. Some people don’t agree with the programmes. Do you think government is going to wait until we agree one day?”
Zuma and Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa addressed journalists after holding a final meeting with the outgoing members of the National Planning Commission (NPC).
Members of the commission were appointed in 2010 for a period of five years, which expire in May.
Zuma paid tribute to the commission’s first chairperson Trevor Manuel and Ramaphosa who is former deputy chairperson.
Zuma also thanked Minister in the Presidency Jeff Radebe, who is the current chairman of the NPC.
The NPC drafted the National Development Plan which is largely defined by government as South Africa’s strategy to eliminate poverty and reduce inequality by 2030 through uniting citizens.
The outgoing commissioners presented their “close-out report” to Zuma, outlining the work done over the past five years and the tasks for the future.
Radebe has called for nominations for the new NPC members who will be appointed by Zuma.