South Africa: NDP implementing agencies ‘could learn from others’

08 July 2014

While the foundations of the National Development Plan (NDP) were largely sound, the plan’s proverbial “Achilles’ heel” would likely lie in its implementation.

At the Southern African Transport Conference, on Monday, South African Road Federation adviser and transport engineer Dr Malcolm Mitchell said government agencies – with few exceptions – had long demonstrated an inability to implement well-developed policy – transport-focused or otherwise.

“Transport policy doesn’t always have a desired impact and realisation of objectives and, [in South Africa], there is general incongruence [in policy] between what is planned and what the outcome is. This history of poor policy implementation in South Africa has potential to derail the NDP,” he cautioned.

NDP implementing agencies could learn from the Philippines, Thailand, Indonesia and Malaysia, by ensuring that the plan was led by a committed, strong, honest and non-political leadership base supported by a consensus on a clear vision and attainable “action proposals”.

The appointment of a non-political, central and effective professional implementing agency was also critical and supported by commitment to the plan by all sectors of society.

He noted that policy often contained “too much detail” and those that fail often contain excessive demands [or expectations]. There need to be clear policy objectives.

By: Natalie Greve

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