Hon Chairperson, I want to thank the hon members for what I thought was a very good and constructive discussion. Very important points have been raised. I certainly do disagree with some, but I appreciate the sincerity with which the arguments have been made; the overall support for the budget of the department; and the role that our state-owned companies are playing in the economy.
I appreciate the profound divergence of views about the developmental role of state-owned companies. I appreciate, in particular, the comments made by the chairperson of the portfolio committee, who gave us a treatise about the role of a developmental state and, in particular, the role of state- owned companies in supporting the objectives of development.
Amongst others, he makes the point that we should not simply expect profit from state-owned companies, because, after all, they are not commercial enterprises. We should expect them to be sustainable, financially viable, and yet generate revenue that will be reinvested into economic growth, job creation and skills development. I think that is a very profound contribution from the chairperson of the committee. [Interjections.]
I appreciate, hon Michael and hon Marais, the constructive approach you took to the debate. I might disagree with some of your views, but the constructive approach to the debate helps to enrich the work that we are doing.
My view is that SAA must and will remain a national flag carrier. What we are doing with SAA - because the matter of SAA has gained prominence in the debate - is refocusing its strategy towards Africa, with Africa as our anchor root network. We are focusing towards a long-term strategy for the airline. We hope and intend to continue paying greater attention to internal controls in all our state-owned companies. We have already done so in the previous chairperson's forum. We engaged with the state-owned companies about matters of their internal controls. To address the issues that you raised, hon Michael, about Denel, SA Express, SAA itself, Broadband Infraco and others, our responsibility, as the shareholder manager, is not to sit back and wait until problems arise. It is to engage with our entities on a proactive and robust basis to try and pre-empt the problems, in order to be able to anticipate the problems as they approach us and implement intervention strategies. That is why we need to expand the capacity available in the department, for us to execute our mandate. We are trying to do so.
In the reconfiguration of the department, we tried to introduce new branches and divisions within resources constraints. I am not standing here asking for more money; that is not my responsibility. I am part of the collective in government that allocates the revenue. That notwithstanding, my responsibility is to assure the committee and the National Assembly that we are doing everything we can, within our power, to focus on our increasing responsibilities. What we would not want to see is our state- owned companies failing to meet their mandate and to deliver the infrastructure within the stipulated time. That is why, among others, we announced the establishment of the Integrated Project Office, which is going to focus on assisting the state-owned companies, particularly those responsible for infrastructure roll-out, to ensure that they deliver on the mandate that they have been given by government and by the people of South Africa.
Hon Nhanha, your obsession with President Zuma has actually been Cope's own doing and it has been Cope's downfall. I hope when you are sitting with your wife, as you said, you do not suddenly shout, "Jacob Zuma!" [Laughter.] I want to assure you that His Excellency, the President, is really not bothered, either about you or your organisation. [Applause.] [Interjections.]
Finally, I wish to commend Eskom for having kept the lights on during a really difficult period, against a really restrained system. We will continue to do everything in our power to ensure that the lights are kept on; to strive towards cost-reflective tariffs; and to ensure that, through the electricity and even the ports tariffs, we contribute towards reducing the cost of doing business in South Africa.
I want to, once more, thank hon members for a very constructive debate and for their support for the Budget Vote. Hon Ambrosini, I hope the disservice you continue to do to the IFP will be taken note of by your own organisation. [Laughter.] You really are doing the IFP a disservice. Thank you. [Applause.]