Hon Chair, I was greatly intrigued by what the EFF proposed earlier when they said that, given the fact that the Department of Public Enterprises is staffed by ANC loyalists, we should dissolve it. I would like to take it a step further and say that, considering the fact that most government departments - in fact, all of them - are made up of ANC loyalists, we should dissolve the entire government and put in place a military government to run the country. [Interjections.] [Laughter.]
Hon Chair, hon Minister, hon Deputy Minister and hon members, for many years South Africa's economic growth potential was shackled by a lack of properly planned infrastructure investment. This resulted in immense disparities between the quality of the infrastructure in rural and urban communities. The poor in rural communities have to make do with inadequate and poor-quality infrastructure, which confines them to the margins of economic activity.
Through properly planned infrastructure development and rural development programmes, state-owned enterprises have an important role to play in boosting economic growth in order to ensure equal opportunity for all people to participate in our country's economy.
However, this will be difficult to achieve if drastic steps are not taken to improve the capacity of SOEs to spend their allocated budgets. For instance, over the past two years, SOEs have been spending approximately 70% of the funds committed to infrastructure development. Even taking a casual look at the underexpenditure of the aforementioned SOEs and at the number of times government has had to bail some of them out reveals that SOEs are far less productive than companies in the private sector.
How does one then justify the high salaries paid to the executives of the SOEs? The UDM believes that capacity levels at the SOEs need to be improved if they are to truly serve as an engine for economic growth and development. We are also of the view that steps should be taken to ensure that the right people are employed in the right positions at our SOEs and that there should be clear performance contracts.
In addition, in large infrastructure development programmes, the department needs to rope in the private sector to either invest or play a part in them.
Ndifuna ukuthi thina siyi-UDM ... [I want to say as the UDM ...]
... we have been talking a lot about the issue of a developmental state. And talking about a developmental state, one of the things that we talk about is that the SOEs have an important role to play in that. Obviously one cannot expect the government to sit back and twiddle its thumbs and do nothing about ...
... ukuphuhliswa kwabantu. IsiNgesi esithetha ngemarike nangezinye izinto ezininzi, sisiNgesi esikholelwa kakhulu kwi ... [... improving people's lives. English which mentions markets and many other things is the English which strongly believes in ...]
... trickle-down economics ...
... apho kuthiwa, siza kutya thina size siniphosele imvuthuluka ezantsi kwaye ke loo nto ayinakuze isisebenzele thina bantu bantsundu, thina bantu bahluphekileyo ... [... where it is said, we will eat and give you the leftovers. That will never work for us as black people as we are suffering from poverty ...]
... and still have backlogs from the past that need to be redressed. Secondly, I do not think we are asking the right question when we ask ...
... ingaba amashishini karhulumente afanelwe ukuba agcinwe kusini na? [... whether public enterprises should be maintained or not.
That is the wrong question altogether. The most important question is, how do we make them effective so that ...
... akwazi ukufikelela nakwezi ndawo zazihlelelekile ngaphambili? Singakhumshi isiNgesi esimnandi esiphuma kwiincwadi zesikolo [textbooks.] kodwa sibe singabasebenzeli abantu. Enkosi kakhulu. [Kwaqhwatywa.] [Kwaphela ixesha.] (Translation of isiXhosa paragraph follows.) [... they can be accessed in the previously disadvantaged areas? We must not speak the nice English that we read in the textbooks while we are not doing well for the people. Thank you. [Applause.] [Time expired.]]