n Journal of Public Administration - The National Development Plan (NDP) : a comparative analysis with the Reconstruction and Development Programme (RDP), the Growth, Employment And Redistribution (GEAR) programme and the Accelerated and Shared-Growth Initiative (ASGISA)

Volume 49, Issue 3
  • ISSN : 0036-0767



The National Development Plan (NDP) marks a significant turning point in South Africa's approach to development. Although hailed by many for its long-term vision of a sustainable and inclusive development path, the Plan appears to be negating the more egalitarian, inclusive, and broad-based and potentially more transformative and empowering Reconstruction and Development Plan (RDP) of 1994. The NDP appears to be reneging on some fundamental issues that are pivotal to transformative development. Much as the job-creating agenda of this comprehensive plan is important, it cannot be a substitute for the imperative to transform ownership and access to productive resources for the majority. Yet it appears that NDP effectively maintains the status quo with respect to fundamental issues such as land reform and redistribution and the democratic participation and access to the mineral wealth of the country. Whereas the NDP is indeed broader in scope than the Growth, Employment and Redistribution (GEAR) Programme and the Accelerated and Shared Growth Initiative of South Africa (AsgiSA), the authors are concerned about its failure to provide the much-needed comprehensive and effective strategies which are required to transform the South African society in terms of democratic access to and control of land and mineral resources. The main objectives of the paper therefore are to examine the different national development strategies in relation to the fundamental development challenges confronting the economy (unequal access to wealth and resources, unemployment, poverty, disadvantage and exclusion). It compares the NDP with RDP, GEAR and AsgiSA in terms of their vision, strategic focus, ideological underpinnings and performance and assesses the policy implications of the NDP as a blueprint for transformative development. The paper argues that the NDP, though long-term in perspective, is necessary to the democratisation process that marked the immediate post-democracy period in 1994. The paper therefore calls for a more extensive debate and review of the plan in order to develop and implement a more transformative national development plan.

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