The South African government's new National Planning Commission, which has been tasked to produce a national development plan and vision statement for the country, includes two UCT academics: Associate Professor Viviene Taylor, head of the Department of Social Development, and Professor Anton Eberhard of the Graduate School of Business.
Taylor's national and international development experience spans over 30 years, including working with the United Nations on a global Commission on Human Security, with governments, in the non-governmental sector and in academia.
The principal author and researcher of South Africa's first two Human Development Reports, Taylor has completed a 50-country study for the African Union on social protection, and has over 60 publications under her belt.
Eberhard's work focuses on the restructuring and regulation of infrastructure sectors such as electricity, water, transport and telecommunications, related investment challenges, and linkages to sustainable development. He has worked in the energy sector for nearly 30 years and was the founding Director of the Energy and Development Research Centre at UCT.
Speaking on the announcement of the commissioners, President Jacob Zuma outlined the need for the new commission.
"Last year we announced that the new administration would do things differently and would work consistently to change the way government works, in order to improve service delivery. A key aspect of this exercise was to introduce effective planning as well as monitoring and evaluation capacity in the Presidency, to guide these functions in government."
Chaired by Minister in the presidency, Trevor Manuel, and deputy chair Cyril Ramaphosa, the commission will produce reports on issues impacting long-term development, including water, food and energy security, climate change, infrastructure planning, human resource development, defence and security matters, the structure of the economy, and spatial planning and demographic trends.
"The commission is asked to take an independent, cross-cutting, critical and long-term view of these issues," said Zuma. "This will enable us to make government policies and plans more coherent and focused on achieving the type of society that we all envisage."
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