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Sun Apr 26 13:29:14 CAT 2015

First NDP Budget might herald real progress at last

The Times Editorial | 28 February, 2013 00:14

The Times Editorial: The latest Budget was the first to be built entirely around the much-vaunted, long-awaited National Development Plan.

And, as the country waits for details about how this blueprint for the next 20 years will be implemented, it seems that the roll-out has already begun.

Infrastructure spending, to the tune of more than R800-billion over the next three years, will not be affected by Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan's spending cuts, he said yesterday.

That is good news - it shows the adoption of a longer-term outlook. It also shows that the NDP, and the massive rail, road, energy and communications investments to make it possible - are not fly-by-night ephemera. And it shows that this government might actually be serious about delivering on many of its promises.

In the past, too many well-intentioned plans have failed because they either went too far or did not go far enough. And the time allocated to properly assessing whether they were working as intended was often too short.

Last year's tragic events at Marikana, and the wave of service-delivery protests across our communities - especially destructive in Sasolburg - have shown that citizens want services.

They want decent opportunities and they want to live in better-serviced communities.

One Budget alone can't make that happen.

But a series of balanced Budgets, drafted in accord with one comprehensive plan, might be the start of a better life for all.

Politics in recent months have begun to take a back seat as South Africans demand better services and a good return on their taxes.

Statements by President Jacob Zuma that more is to be done to rid our state of corruption must be put into effect soon.

For South Africa to be able to face its challenges head on, and offer a Budget that creates opportunities for all, we must all fight corruption, in both the private and public sectors.

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