In response to a call for input on the Green Paper: National Strategic Planning, the ALP recently made a submission to the Presidency and Parliament’s Ad Hoc Committee on the Green Paper on National Strategic Planning. The ALP’s interest in making this submission stems from its commitment to defend and enforce human rights and to ensure that the state discharges its constitutional obligations in accordance with its democratic mandate and the rule of law. The submission broadly supports the substantive content of the Green Paper subject to the following five concerns:
- Whilst making numerous references to the Constitution and its foundational values, the Green Paper is silent on Constitutional Court jurisprudence that provides much needed guidance on the appropriate relationship between short-, medium- and long-term planning, especially in relation to the realisation of socio-economic rights;
- The Green Paper advances an impoverished notion of consultation, focusing strongly on the need to secure stakeholder buy-in at the expense of placing substantive value on the process itself;
- Given the Green Paper’s commitment to “build[ing] a developmental state with strategic, political, administrative and technical capacities to lead the nation in social development”, one would expect the issue of health planning to feature more prominently;
- The proposed structure of the National Planning Commission, whilst providing the semblance of independence, would ensure that the body serves as nothing more than an advisory panel to the Minister in the Presidency for National Planning; and
- In seeking to allocate various powers and functions to the Minister, the National Planning Commission and the latter’s secretariat based in the Presidency, the Green Paper does not adequately address the relationship between the three on the one hand and other national government departments on the other.