“The NDP reflects the priorities underpinning this budget, and prepares the ground for the next phase of our economic and social transformation,” he said in his 2014 budget speech, two months ahead of the May elections.
Gordhan said government’s commitment to the NDP meant striving for five percent growth, reducing poverty, speeding up infrastructure investment, phasing in the National Health Insurance and professionalising the public service.
He warned, however, that implementing the plan would require financial discipline, better productivity and a firm commitment to curbing waste.
At a media briefing earlier, Gordhan pointed to the estimates of national expenditure’s chapter on the presidency, under which the planning department fell, saying the “proof of the pudding is in the ENE [estimates of national expenditure]”.
The document references the dictates of the NDP in explaining its allocations for every department.
It shows that its budget is set to grow by an average of 13.2 percent annually for the next three years but remains more than three times smaller than that of the presidency or the National Youth Development Agency.
The NDP has been rejected by some unions in the labour movement, causing tension within the ruling alliance and raising questions about government’s commitment to implementing it.
Government is also ignoring its caution that the country should steer away from nuclear energy. President Jacob Zuma confirmed in his state of the nation address a fortnight ago that government would soon conclude the procurement of 9600 megawatts of nuclear energy.