The National Development Plan: A vision for 2030

South Africa’s National Development Plan, launched in 2012, is a detailed blueprint for how the country can eliminate poverty and reduce inequality by the year 2030.

NDP sidebar

•  Overview
•  Document downloads
•  Quality basic education
•  Health care for all
•  Safety & freedom from fear
•  Economy & employment
•  A skilled workforce
•  Economic infrastructure
•  Vibrant rural communities
•  Sustainable human settlements
•  Accountable local government
•  Natural environment
•  South Africa in the world
•  Efficient public service
•  Inclusive social protection
•  Nation building, social cohesion

Researched, edited and compiled by Mary Alexander

The National Development Plan, or NDP, is a plan to unite South Africans, unleash the energies of its citizens, grow an inclusive economy, build capabilities, and enhance the capability of the state and leaders working together to solve complex problems.

This is a summary of the NDP, which was launched in 2012. To read the full plan, visit the document downloads page.

Problem statement

The NDP is the product of hundreds of interactions with South Africans, input from tens of thousands of people, extensive research and robust debate throughout the country.

It begins with a problem statement:

South Africa’s transition from apartheid to a democratic state has been a success.

In the past 18 years, we have built democratic institutions, transformed the public service, extended basic services, stabilised the economy and taken our rightful place in the family of nations.

Despite these successes, too many people are trapped in poverty and we remain a highly unequal society.

Too few South Africans work, the quality of school education for the majority is of poor quality and our state lacks capacity in critical areas.

There has been significant progress, but our country remains divided, with opportunity still shaped by the legacy of apartheid. In particular, young people and women are denied the opportunities to lead the lives that they desire.

Our Constitution obliges all of us to tackle these challenges.

The vision

The plan envisions a South Africa where everyone feels free yet bounded to others; where everyone embraces their full potential, a country where opportunity is determined not by birth, but by ability, education and hard work.

Realising such a society will require transformation of the economy and focused efforts to build the country’s capabilities. To eliminate poverty and reduce inequality, the economy must grow faster and in ways that benefit all South Africans.

In particular, young people deserve better educational and economic opportunities, and focused efforts are needed to eliminate gender inequality. Promoting gender equality and greater opportunities for young people are integrated themes that run throughout the NDP.

There is a burning need for faster progress, more action and better implementation. The future belongs to all of us. The NDP is a vision for every South African, requiring action, change and sacrifice from all sectors of society.


Background to the National Development Plan

In May 2010 President Jacob Zuma appointed the National Planning Commission, an advisory body made up of 26 experts drawn largely from outside the government, to draft a vision and national development plan.

The commission’s Diagnostic Report, released in June 2011, set out South Africa’s achievements and shortcomings since 1994. It identified a failure to implement policies and an absence of broad partnerships as the main reasons for slow progress, and set out nine primary challenges:

1. Too few people work.
2. The quality of school education for black people is poor.
3. Infrastructure is poorly located, inadequate and under-maintained.
4. Spatial divides hobble inclusive development.
5. The economy is unsustainably resource-intensive.
6. The public health system cannot meet demand or sustain quality.
7. Public services are uneven and often of poor quality.
8. Corruption levels are high.
9. South Africa remains a divided society.


South Africans from all walks of life welcomed the diagnostic as a frank, constructive assessment. This led to the development of the draft national plan, released in November 2011. Building on the diagnostic, the plan added four thematic areas: rural economy, social protection, regional and world affairs, and community safety.

The commission consulted widely on the draft plan. Its public forums drew in thousands of people. The commissioners met with parliament, the judiciary, national departments, provincial governments, development finance institutions, state-owned entities and local government formations. They held talks with unions, business, religious leaders and non-profit organisations.

South Africans broadly supported the draft plan, proposing modifications and making suggestions to implement it effectively. Their input informed the final National Development Plan.


The Medium Term Strategic Framework 2014 to 2019

South Africa’s MTSF to 2019 is the first framework drawn up following the adoption of the National Development Plan in September 2012. It sets out actions the government and its partners will take to implement the NDP over the first five years of the plan, and provides a framework for the other plans of national, provincial and local government.

The MTSF has identified 14 priorities of the NDP that need urgent attention. These are:


Quality basic education


In 2030, South Africans will be enriched by universal early childhood education, high-quality schooling, further education and training that allows them to fulfil their potential, and expanding higher education that accelerates the shift to a knowledge economy. READ MORE >


A long and healthy life for all South Africans


In 2030, South Africa’s health system works for everyone. It provides quality care to all, has raised life expectancy to at least 70 years, produced a young generation largely free of HIV infection, and has dramatically reduced infant mortality. READ MORE >


All people in South Africa are and feel safe


In 2030, all people living in South Africa feel safe, have no fear of crime, are properly served by the police and courts, and know corruption no longer eats away at their livelihoods. READ MORE >


Decent employment through inclusive economic growth


In 2030, South Africa’s economy is inclusive and dynamic. The fruits of growth are shared fairly. The economy has close to full employment, equips people with the skills they need, ensures the ownership of production is more diverse and able to grow rapidly, and provides resources to pay for investment in human and physical capital. READ MORE >


A skilled and capable workforce to support an inclusive growth path


In 2030, higher education and vocational training in South Africa produces highly skilled graduates, ready to meet both the present and future needs of economy and society. READ MORE >


An efficient, competitive and responsive economic infrastructure network


In 2030, South Africa’s network of robust infrastructure is the bedrock of growth and job creation. This infrastructure efficiently delivers electricity, water, sanitation, telecoms and transport services, powers the economy, and supports manufacturing, trade and exports. More than that, it gives citizens the means to improve their lives and boost their incomes. READ MORE >


Vibrant, equitable and sustainable rural communities contributing to food security for all


In 2030, South Africa’s rural communities are able to fully participate in the economic, social and political life of the country. They enjoy good-quality education, health care, transport and other basic services. Successful land reform, job creation and rising agricultural production have created an inclusive rural economy. READ MORE >


Sustainable human settlements and improved quality of household life


In 2030, the terrible spatial legacy of apartheid has finally been broken. South Africans have humane and environmentally sustainable living and working conditions. Their homes have all the basic services they need and are closer to their workplaces, to which they travel in safe public transport. READ MORE >


A responsive, accountable, effective and efficient developmental local government system


In 2030, local government in South Africa has the trust of the people, being committed to working with communities to find sustainable ways to meet their social, economic and material needs, and improve the quality of their lives. READ MORE >


Protecting and enhancing our environmental assets and natural resources


In 2030, rural communities are thriving and prosperous, cities are compact and energy efficient, the public know the dangers of climate change and unconstrained consumption of natural resources is no more. Our priorities, instead, are on the protection and rehabilitation of South Africa’s natural assets. READ MORE >


Create a better South Africa, contribute to a better and safer Africa in a better world


In 2030, South Africa is a globally competitive economy and a leading member of the family of nations. The country contributes to sustainable development, democracy, the rule of law, human rights and security in a peaceful and prosperous Africa, and a fair and just world. READ MORE >


An efficient, effective and development-oriented public service


In 2030, state institutions are well-run and effectively coordinated, run by professionals committed to the public good and capable of delivering consistently high-quality services, and working for economic growth and reduced poverty and inequality. READ MORE >


An inclusive and responsive social protection system


In 2030, South Africa is a working nation, individuals are engaged in meaningful activity, and vulnerable groups and citizens are protected from the worst effects of poverty. Everyone is able to live the life they wish to lead. READ MORE >


A diverse, socially cohesive society with a common national identity


In 2030, South Africa will be a society where opportunity is not determined by race or birthright, and where citizens accept they have both rights and responsibilities. We will be a united, prosperous, non-racial, non-sexist and democratic South Africa. READ MORE >

Updated 23 July 2017

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