Use Planning Commission to Renew and Complete Social Contract of 1996

Article excerpt

After its first year in office, South Africa's National Planning Commission has produced its first set of public documents which contain elements of a vision for what our country should look like in 2030. These are:

l A democratic state, rooted in the values of the constitution, working with all sectors of society to improve the quality of life.

l People are united in diversity, recognising the common interest that binds us as a nation, and (that) we have achieved equality for women in all aspects of life.

l High quality education and health care, and adequate provision of housing, water, sanitation, energy and transport, (which) give impetus to human development.

l Natural wealth (that) is harnessed sustainably, in a way that protects our environment using science and modern technology to ensure a growing economy that benefits all.

l People who are able to work have access to jobs, workers' rights are protected and the workforce is skilled.

l Business is afforded an environment to invest and profit while promoting the common interests of the nation, including decent work.

l An efficient state protects citizens, provides quality services and infrastructure, and gives leadership to national development.

l Individuals and communities, at work and at play, embrace mutual respect and human solidarity.

l Government, business and civil society (at) work to build Africa and a better world.

These elements have been informed by both the preamble to our constitution and that constitution's Bill of Rights (Chapter 2). This constitution, adopted in 1996, is the social contract through which our country ended racially defined minority rule and replaced it with a non-racial, non-sexist democracy.

The hope of this constitution was to create a government by, of and for citizens, within the framework of guaranteed basic rights, enforced through the rule of law. The planning commission intends to use the elements described above to draw our nation into a conversation about the country we want to build in 2030.

The second set of documents released by the commission are as important as the vision. In what we have called our diagnosis of our present state, we have identified nine critical challenges. …