Hon Chairperson, hon Ministers and Deputy Ministers; hon members; chairpersons; board members and CEOs of our state-owned companies; the director-general of the department; all Department of Public Enterprises colleagues present; distinguished guests; ladies and gentlemen, on behalf of the Ministry, we also wish those on board the flight that ran into turbulence a speedy recovery.
When we stood before you for our 2013-14 Budget Vote, we had trees with us. Some had been partly eaten away and some were broken because of our recent past. We had branches whose connection to the tree was weak, and we promised to nurture them. In nurturing them, we had engagements with seven provinces through our provincial engagements programme. In these sessions, engagements on opportunities were held with government, both provincial and local, as well as with the youth and business community. Institutional support mechanism structures to realise the alignment of programmes have been established in the provinces visited. These are the North West, KwaZulu-Natal, the Free State, the Eastern Cape and the Northern Cape. The other provinces will be visited as well.
The government is committed to institutionalising the development and empowerment of the youth, as expressed in the National Youth Policy. Our response to this commitment has been through our Youth Economic Participation programme. Through this, we are co-ordinating the efforts of our state-owned companies to maximise their role in the achievement of the national youth economic empowerment objectives. These include skills development, job creation, enterprise and supplier development, and corporate social investment. As a result, youth opportunity expositions were held in various provinces, where information relating to the above was shared.
The lack of awareness regarding opportunities in state-owned companies led us to prioritise people in rural areas, farming communities and townships. Opportunities in these state-owned companies are not only for the urban or upper middle class but for all South Africans. Thousands of young people attended expositions held at Ekurhuleni, Umhlathuze and on the farms of De Doorns.
During the last Budget Vote process, we committed to hosting a state-owned company supplier summit to address the question of how corporate social investment can fund youth development in general. On 28 March 2014 we hosted the summit at the University of Fort Hare in Alice.
Corporate social investment expenditure continues to grow in South Africa. According to the 2013 Trialogue audit, the top 100 companies and state- owned companies have a corporate social investment budget to a value of R7,8 billion. We commit to continue redirecting the focus of state-owned company corporate social investment spend towards addressing the triple challenge of inequality, unemployment and poverty.
We have identified three focus areas to streamline the direction of corporate social investment. These are education, enterprise development, and health and sport. Regarding education, our priority as the department is the promotion of mathematics and science. In this respect, we have embarked on a roll-out of the Telematics system to schools in the various provinces. We have been able to pursue this programme in partnership with the University of Stellenbosch.
Our state-owned companies adopted schools in the provinces, carried the costs and facilitated the installation of the system to the schools identified. Some of the schools connected include the following: St John's College in Mthatha, Eastern Cape, connected with the support of Eskom; Jikindaba Secondary School at Ingquza Hill in the Eastern Cape, connected with the support of Denel; and Seshego Secondary School in the province of Limpopo, connected with the support of Broadband Infraco. Transnet has also built a computer centre for this school. Vaal Reefs Technical High School in the North West, Zikode High School and Harding Secondary School in KwaZulu-Natal are due for connection before the end of this year.
Langa High School in the Western Cape, Moremogolo Further Education and Training College in the Northern Cape and 100 schools from the Free State represented in the Youth Camp had the benefit of receiving donations from the state-owned companies in the form of mathematics dictionaries. In our last Budget Vote debate, we promised to respond to a plea made during our visit to the Free State in December 2012 to host a Youth Camp for Grade 10 and 11 learners from the Free State province. In this regard, the Youth Camp hosted by our state-owned companies, who worked together with the Free State department of economic development, was a great success. Learners from townships and rural areas of the Free State were exposed to opportunities in our state-owned companies. We remain committed to making this a yearly event, targeting learners from the different provinces.
Before the end of this year, we intend formally launching the Transnet Maritime School of Excellence in Durban. Through this school, we intend building a pool of marine graduates.
With regard to enterprise development, Transnet has been on extensive roadshows to townships and rural areas. These are meant to educate young people on how to tender for opportunities in Transnet. As we move South Africa forward, Transnet has invested over R18 billion to go to youth-owned businesses, particularly those in the townships and rural areas. In addition, Transnet has entered into a range of partnerships with both private and public companies to provide funding to small and micro enterprises. These interventions are specifically targeting the black youth and women-owned companies. Transnet has further dedicated an amount of R4,7 billion to bursaries and grants.
Eskom, on the other hand, has set itself a target of spending over R24 billion a year on youth-owned businesses by 2017. Thus far, Eskom has reserved over R10,5 billion of spend for youth-owned businesses in a range of industries, including the national electrification project and coal mining.
The Transnet Phelophepa Healthcare Train continues to bring health services to disadvantaged communities that do not have access to proper health care. With the train celebrating 20 years of service, we have now launched Phelophepa II, a second train, to bolster the annual patient reach of the programme.
In 2013 Eskom also approved four paediatric mobile units that will service primary schools around the communities it serves. These mobile units will provide general health, dental and eye care, which is much needed in the rural areas. Transnet and Eskom are looking at possible collaboration in a health partnership.
The success of our battle against the lack of training and skilling can be achieved by giving life to collaborative efforts. The New Growth Path emphasises that the only way to achieve our national economic objectives is through building multistakeholder partnerships.
In partnership with the Department of Communications and Tata Africa, we secured computer centres for Jikindaba High School and for the local church of Holy Cross to train the community in computer skills. The department is engaging the Department of Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs, Cogta, in a collaboration meant to respond to the shortage of artisans and to respond to service delivery hotspots. A draft memorandum of understanding and a concept document have been prepared to pave the way for the Phelophepa Train of Hope. The collaboration is intended to bring artisans, technicians and engineers to municipalities that lack technical capacity and to reduce the level of service delivery protests.
The skills we are developing must be able to respond to our transition from a resource economy to a knowledge-driven economy. The competitiveness of that economy will be extremely dependent on the quality of the human capital that we produce. So far, we have been able to identify 23 district municipalities as priorities. In partnership with the Ingquza Hill Local Municipality, realising the need for clean water for learners and the community, Denel provided four boreholes to the area. These are strategically located near the schools, particularly to enable easy access to clean water for the learners.
The SA Forestry Company Ltd, Safcol, is operating under very difficult economic conditions. However, we are happy to announce that Safcol will declare a profit in the 2013-14 financial year. A budget of R6,6 million was allocated to socioeconomic development during the 2013-14 financial year. In collaboration with the Joint Community Forums of Mpumalanga and Limpopo, a needs analysis and project identification were finalised. Flowing from that budget, projects ranging from building community halls to building schools were successfully undertaken by Safcol.
Alexander Bay Development Corporation Ltd, Alexkor, represents another of the good stories in our 20 years of democracy. This state-owned company has been able to turn the tide amid all the challenges that existed in their space. Alexkor has accomplished its financial obligations in terms of the 2007 Deed of Settlement obligations. As a result, the Alexander Bay township now forms part of the Richtersveld Local Municipality as per the registration on 22 November 2013. The value of the property that will be transferred to the Richtersveld community as part of the Department of Rural Development and Land Reform restitution programme is estimated at R200 million.
As part of the turnaround strategy, the deep-sea mining agreement with the International Mining and Dredging SA Pty Ltd, IMDSA, has been concluded. Operations in this respect will commence once the marine mining rights have been granted. We expect more people from the Richtersveld to benefit from this extension of focus.
We have also realised an improvement in carat production from 35 000 to almost 42 000 carats in one year. This is on the back of the handing over of the Muisvlak Modular Plant in April 2014. The plant was commissioned during the 2013-14 financial year and its operation has created 200 more jobs. When we stood before you in 2013, Alexkor had 109 employees. Today, the company has 350 employees. Confirming our unwavering support to empower women, the Witvoorkoppen Women's Mining Company has been established and has commenced with its land mining operations in the Richtersveld.
The Pebble Bed Modular Reactor Company, PBMR, is now fully incorporated into Eskom as its subsidiary, as an interim measure. This will be the situation until a Cabinet decision is made on the future of the company.
The first meeting of creditors since the liquidation of Aventura Resorts took place in December 2013. The department intends commencing with the process to repeal Aventura's founding legislation as part of finalising the winding up of Aventura Resorts. We are anticipating that the Master of the High Court will approve the liquidation and distribution account around November 2014. After that, Aventura will be deregistered.
I would like to thank the Minister for her leadership and guidance; the previous Minister for the role he played in leading the department; colleagues at the Department of Public Enterprises for their support; boards, management and staff of our state-owned companies for their support; and the ANC study group for their guidance.
As the Ministry and the department, we commit to working closely with the Portfolio Committee on Public Enterprises in Parliament. We thank all the guests for their attendance. I humbly ask the House to support this Budget Vote. I thank you. [Applause.]