11 May 2009
Former Finance Minister Trevor Manuel has been appointed as minister in charge of South Africa’s new National Planning Commission, which seeks to accelerate the government’s efforts to boost the economy, reduce poverty and ensure smooth infrastructure development.
Unveiling his new administrative team in Pretoria on Sunday, President Jacob Zuma said the decision to establish the commission was made following extensive research on how governments in other parts of the world plan and monitor performance.
“The commission will go a long way to drive policy implementation and delivery outside the bureaucratic constraints of government departments and their fragmentation according to line functions,” President Jacob Zuma told the media in Pretoria on Sunday.
He said the commission would be a “champion of delivery in assisting government fulfil its uppermost priorities”.
The commission would ensuring a seamless interface between departments through the co-ordination of activities around joint priority projects that required a multifaceted approach, Zuma said.
It would be responsible for strategic planning for the country, ensuring that there was one national plan to which all spheres of government adhered.
“This will enable us to take a more comprehensive view of socio-economic development in the country.”
Manuel will report directly to the President, and also work hand-in-hand with various portfolios. One of the longest-serving ministers in the government, Manuel was first appointed as trade and industry minister in 1994 before becoming minister of finance in 1996, a post he has only now relinquished.
Pravin Gordhan, who has been credited with turning around the South African Revenue Service since his appointment as its commissioner in 1999, replacec Manuel as the country’s finance minister.
Even though Gordhan is not a Member of Parliament, the law allows Zuma to appoint up to two ministers and two deputy ministers who are not members of Parliament to his Cabinet.