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Trevor Manuel Speaks

Trevor Manuel speaks about National Plan

“The ideals and the plans articulated in the National Development Plan (NDP) will not self-ignite, but rather they need the whole nation to spark and nurture them,” Minister in the Presidency and head of the Planning Commission, Trevor Manuel, told academics and students at the University of the Western Cape (UWC) on Tuesday, 27 August 2013.

In an address to the UWC community, Manuel said UWC is as important today in the efforts to better the state of our nation as it was during the formation of the United Democratic Front (UDF) and the struggle against Apartheid. He said the universities in the country have a responsibility to contribute to the NDP.

“Universities must change radically to meet the Plan. From 34% of staff with PhD’s at universities, we must work to have 75% of all higher education staff with PhDs by 2030,” Manuel said.

He commended the universities in the country for the research they do on the subject of early childhood development (ECD), saying it gives his Commission a good starting point.

He said this would help the objectives of the Plan with regards to the improvement of the higher education sector.

Manuel went on to speak about child nutrition, saying the nutrition programme the country has established is being implemented within the formal education sector, which excludes the period of early childhood development.

“The ECD sector also receives a thorough look in. The first 1000 days of a child’s life are very crucial. This is where good nutrition and good education must come in, before the kids go into the formal education sector,” he said.

Manuel said that although South Africa’s democracy is only 19 years old, it is up to the citizens to ensure the careful and proper implementation of the Plan. The Commission will need the public’s support  in order to transform the country.

“25 people can’t undertake transformation. Most of the commissioners there don’t come from government, but are people who are committed to assist the government in carrying out the mandate of transforming the country,” said Manuel.

He said if one wanted to develop skills to address the unemployment and poverty problems the country faces, one could not leave the higher education sector outside of such plans.

“The elimination of poverty and the reduction of unemployment are high priority on the  Commission’s agenda. The two (poverty and unemployment) are not the same thing - we must make that distinction – but they manifest in the same way, higher education is very important in alleviating these issues,” said Manuel.

“We must think of new ways of looking at our problems, and with that, new ways of developing solutions to our problems will emerge. It is universities such as this one which must lead that process,” Manuel said.

The event was organised by the Staff Development Unit of the University.