A scheduled press briefing by the National Planning Commission (NPC) to highlight that the country had missed all but one of the economic targets outlined in the National Development Plan (NDP) was summarily cancelled on Tuesday morning by government officials who insisted the report be given to the Cabinet first.
The NPC had also planned to call on President Cyril Ramaphosa "to use his high office" to recommit the government to the National Development Plan.
The event, announced to journalists a week ago, was eventually cancelled after it failed to begin more than an hour after the scheduled starting time.
Robert Nkuna, director-general of the Department of Performance, Monitoring, and Evaluation, said that was because the first question coming from the media was likely to be about how the executive would respond to the NPC, and it was better to wait until the Cabinet had discussed it.
The NPC was established by former President Jacob Zuma in 2010 and published the NDP in 2012. Each commission serves for five years. The current commission has compiled a 10-year review of the NDP, which it planned to discuss at the briefing.
Copies of the report, distributed last week and embargoed until Tuesday, point out that the NDP has missed targets on growth, inequality, investment, and employment. It notes progress in reducing the proportion of the population living under the food poverty line but will fall short of the target to eliminate poverty by 2030.
In the call to action, the NPC says, "Instead of a capable state, on which the plan is predicated, we have an increasingly corrupt state; instead of a seamless planning system, we have a disjointed planning system that is poorly implemented and misaligned to the strategic goals of the NDP; instead of a more inclusive and equitable economy, we have economic policies that do not seem to be achieving the transformation that is required."
Nkuna said the event would be rescheduled after the Cabinet has had the opportunity to interact with the NPC.