Hon House Chairperson, Minister, Deputy Minister and members, budget work is one of the most important oversight functions of Parliament. The budget reflects the choices that government has to make and is the tool it uses to achieve its economic and developmental goals. However, budget work also has a larger purpose: to ensure openness, transparency and accountability for public resources. The DA sees the principle of accountability as very important in the budget process.
In his state of the nation address, the President did reflect on infrastructure investment as a key priority of the National Development Plan, the New Growth Path and the Industrial Policy Action Plan. South Africa's economy could be stimulated by implementing a long-term, government-led infrastructure investment programme. The Department of Public Enterprises plays the key role in contributing to the objectives of the National Development Plan, which are to grow the economy, reduce poverty and increase employment. The DA supports the National Development Plan.
The department has the potential to contribute to the objectives of the National Development Plan through Eskom's build programme and Transnet's capital expenditure programme in order to improve industrial capabilities, provide sustainable jobs and improve the productive capacity of the economy.
State-owned companies should provide more job opportunities that allow the youth to qualify themselves for the formal workplace. The DA strongly supports the youth wage subsidy to create more job opportunities.
As far as public enterprises are concerned, we must look into more public- private partnerships and privatisation in the future. Long-term growth and investment requires a shared vision, trust and co-operation between government, business and labour.
Eskom se opwekkingskoste het met 14,9% tot R69,812 miljard gestyg, en sy personeeluitgawes met 7,73% tot R22,38 miljard. Die koste van dieselopwekkingseenhede het meer as verdubbel, tot R10,561 miljard. Hierdie uitgawes was nodig as gevolg van die swak prestasie van sy steenkoolopwekkingseenhede. Eskom se wins van R7 miljard sal nie finansile stabiliteit oor die lang termyn gee nie. Bedryfskostes sal onder beheer gebring mt word. (Translation of Afrikaans paragraph follows.)
[Eskom's generating costs have escalated with 14,9% to R69,812 billion, and its staff expenses with 7,73% to R22,38 billion. The cost of diesel generator sets has more than doubled to R10,561 billion. These expenses were necessary due to the poor performance of its coal-fired generators. Eskom's profit of R7 billion will not provide long-term financial stability. Operating costs will simply have to be brought under control.]
The fact that one new power station costs about twice the entire depreciated capital stock of existing power stations illustrates the challenge. The current electricity crisis exposes institutional weaknesses related to state-owned companies responsible for network infrastructure.
Hon Minister, averting such problems requires clear institutional arrangements, transparent shareholder compacts, clean lines of accountability and sound financial models to ensure sustainability.
We must construct infrastructure to import liquefied natural gas and increase exploration to find domestic gas feedstock in order to diversify the energy mix and reduce carbon emissions. We have to produce more renewable electricity. At least 20 000 MW should come from renewable sources. Minister, we have to accelerate the procurement of independent power producers.
Regarding Broadband Infraco, compared with the best international standards, South Africa's information, communications and telecommunications, ICT, infrastructure is very poor. Efficient information infrastructure that promotes economic growth and greater inclusion requires a stronger broadband and telecommunications network and lower prices. The economic and employment benefits outweigh the cost.
Die DA-beheerde Wes-Kaapse provinsiale regering streef na gratis Internet- toegang vir almal in die Wes-Kaap. 'n Beskostigbare brebandnetwerk sal binnekort in die Wes-Kaap gevestig word. Die Wes-Kaapse provinsiale regering, Neotel en die nasionale regering se Staatsinligtingstegnologie- agentskap, Sita, het in Junie 2014 'n ooreenkoms aangegaan om die netwerk wel in die provinsie te vestig. Die netwerk sal oor die volgende drie jaar in 2 000 regeringsgeboue gevestig word. Dit sluit skole, klinieke en biblioteke in.
Die Stad Kaapstad gaan binne die volgende vyf tot sewe jaar R1,3 miljard bestee om die hele Kaapse metropool te dek met 'n vinnige telekommunikasienetwerk. Die doelwit is om Stad Kaapstad digitaal die mees gekonnekteerde stad in Afrika te maak. [Tussenwerpsels.] Die Stad Kaapstad gaan bel in 'n netwerk van optiesevesel-kabels wat oop toegang het. Kommunikasieverbinding sal geskep word in gebiede wat, tot dusver, agtergebly het wat dienslewering betref.
Dit sal ook beskikbaar wees vir gelisensieerde telekommunikasiediensverskaffers om die beskikbaarheid van breband- internet te verhoog en om maatskaplike en ekonomiese voordele te put uit meer bekostigbare toegang tot breband-internet. (Translation of Afrikaans paragraphs follows.)
[The DA-led Western Cape provincial government is striving towards free Internet access for all in the Western Cape. An affordable broadband network will soon be established in the Western Cape. In fact, the Western Cape provincial government, Neotel and the national government's State Information Technology Agency, Sita, entered into an agreement in June 2014 to establish the network in the province. The network will be established in 2 000 government buildings over the next three years. This includes schools, clinics and libraries.
The City of Cape Town will spend R1,3 billion in the next five to seven years to cover the entire Cape metropole with a high-speed telecommunications network. The objective is to make the City of Cape Town the most digitally connected city in Africa. [Interjections.] The City of Cape Town will invest in an optical-fibre cable network that has open access. Communication connections will be created in areas that have thus far been left behind with regard to service delivery.
It will also be available for licensed telecommunications service providers to increase the availability of broadband Internet and to draw social and economic benefits from more affordable access to broadband Internet.]
Hon Minister, we need competitively priced and widely available broadband. I urge you to push hard in establishing a wider national, provincial and municipal fibre-optic network to provide the backbone for broadband access, driven by private investment and complemented by public funds. Please assist by changing the regulatory framework to ensure that Internet broadband capacity improves, prices fall significantly and access improves.
Hon Minister, in short, I want to reflect on the salaries of executives ... [Interjections.]