Hon House Chairperson, hon Minister, hon Deputy Minister, hon members, distinguished guests, allow me to participate in the debate on Vote No 11 of the Department of Public Enterprises on behalf of the ANC.
In his state of the nation address, President Zuma declared, and I quote:
We will utilise ... Transnet's R50 billion locomotive contracts and Prasa's passenger rail projects, among others, to promote local content and boost growth.
The President further emphasised government's commitment to radical socioeconomic transformation to address the triple challenge of poverty, unemployment and inequality, which are central to the National Development Plan. My input will largely focus on three entities, namely Transnet, South African Airways and SA Express.
Transnet adopted the market demand strategy in 2012. This led to the investment of R300,1 billion in infrastructure, operations efficiencies, jobs and skills development, which will grow to R307,5 billion by 2020. Its revenue for the period under review grew to R56,6 billion, driven by a 14,2% increase in minerals and chrome volumes and a 25,2% rise in automotive volumes and containers on rail. The company is in the third year of its rolling seven-year investment programme aimed at revamping the country's logistics infrastructure. The programme is now up to a record of R312,2 billion. Surely this is a good story to tell, hon Michael. [Interjections.]
With regard to human capital development, the company spent 3% of the labor cost on training during the year, prioritizing training for artisans, engineers and engineering technicians. In the year under review, Transnet awarded 138 full-time engineering bursaries in various disciplines and also sponsored 3 699 high-school learners through the Rail Cadet Scheme. In addition, the company gave 339 engineering technician trainees workplace experience opportunities, with 1 552 new apprentices joining Transnet's apprenticeship scheme, and it contracted 89 graduates-in-training.
As the ANC, we feel that it is imperative that we expedite the implementation of the project that would see pipelines worth R24 billion being installed from Durban to Johannesburg. We are, however, impressed that the implementation phase has created job opportunities for the masses of our people.
South African Airways, SAA, contributes R8,6 billion to South Africa's GDP and is directly and indirectly responsible for 35 000 jobs. It is important to note that the airline has now come up with a turnaround strategy and its implementation has already begun. The company has topped the list of on- time airlines in the world after it achieved 91,7% on-time performance. This is according to a report produced by an independent entity, FlightStats. Its business class has also been voted the best business class product among Star Alliance carriers.
We must remind the hon members that the company has been voted the best airline in Africa for 10 consecutive years and the winner of Service Excellence Awards for three consecutive years.
Hon Minister, we appreciate the fact that SAA obtained an unqualified audit opinion in the 2012-13 financial year. The only matter of emphasis, which is irregular or fruitless and wasteful expenditure, should be closely looked at by us so that we can come up with an audit action plan.
SA Express continues to increase aviation's contribution to sustainable economic growth and job creation. It employs more than 1 000 people at its head office and operational outstations within South Africa and the Southern African Development Community, SADC. For capacity building, it trains and develops cadet pilots and technical apprentices.
As the ANC we support its 2020 Vision strategy and we would like to pledge our support to the Department of Public Enterprises in the monitoring and implementation processes. The turnaround strategy will go a long way in ensuring that we deal with any challenges that arises.
We remain confident that the Presidential Review Committee on State-Owned Entities will come up with monitoring and evaluation mechanisms to enhance the performance of state-owned companies. We will continue to work closely with the Department of Public Enterprises, also providing the necessary support in the implementation of the committee's recommendations.
The need for the involvement of the public in the activities of the state- owned companies cannot be overemphasized.
Hezwi a zwi nga thusi fhedzi uri lushaka lu dzhenele kha thandela dza zwiimiswa zwi no nga sa, SA Airways na SA Express. Zwi ?o thusa hafhu na u ?u?ula dzangalelo ?a vhaswa, nga maan?a vha mahayani, kha bu?o ?a vhufhufhi. Zwi ?o thusa hafhu na u ?ivhadza zwikhala zwine zwa vha hone kha masia o?he. Musi hu tshi avhelwa dzibazari, Mudzulatshidulo, ri lavhalela uri zwi tshingamele nga maan?a kha vhaswa, kha vhafumakadzi, na vhaholefhali. (Translation of Tshiven?a paragraph follows.)
[This will not only help the communities to be involved in projects of the institutions such as the SA Airways and the SA Express, but will also help in developing the interest of the youth, especially the rural youth, in the field of aviation. It will also help to introduce the opportunities available in all areas. When bursaries are awarded, Chairperson, we expect them to focus mostly on the youth, women and people with disabilities.]
Hon Minister and hon Deputy Minister, together with the boards of the entities reporting to the department, be assured of our committee support as you intensify your role of exercising oversight over the state-owned companies to ensure that they effectively execute their mandate. A call for the dissolution of the department by people whose policies were rejected is just a dream and will never be a reality. [Applause.] We respect the mandate the people of South Africa gave on 7 May to the ANC as the only party they trust to move South Africa forward. The ANC supports the Budget Vote of the Department of Public Enterprises. I thank you. [Applause.]