Budget Vote Debate- Extended Public Committee
Mr Narend Singh, MP
At the outset and on behalf of the Inkatha Freedom Party we would like to say that we fully support the observations and recommendations made by the committee with respect to the vote on Public Enterprises.
We believe in particular, the reference to the absence of shareholder compacts and the Stakeholder Management Bill which are both necessary instruments that would allow the minister to intervene should it be necessary in state owned companies must be incorporated going forward.
The current arms-length approach between the department and the state owed companies does not augur well and I make this statement out the fact that the honourable minister herself was reported as having said that she had not received a briefing from Denel in regard to certain possible deals that are being done with the GUPTA family.
We are very pleased as the IFP and as a collective of the committee that we are to request Denel to appear before the committee and explain what has transpired and what types of contracts they are entering into but we are dismayed that it was not the Minister who had taking the lead in requesting these meetings.
The second issue Chairperson is the continued existence and necessity of the department of Public Enterprises. This is an issue I have raised before, as had my colleague, the Honourable Oriani-Ambrosini before me and one I believe that merits considered attention by government.
If one has to look at the Department and the number of state owned companies that fell under their responsibility one would see over the years that they have reduced considerably from 9 in 2005 to just the 6 that it has currently. Some of the more notable enterprises that have been taken away being Transnet and broadband infraco and as we move forward it seems as if the law of diminishing returns is applying because we understand that soon SAA Express will be taken away when it is amalgamated with SAA and Mango, which by the way is not going to be a universal panacea to fix these ailing entities!
That would leave only five State owned Companies that this Department would have oversight of for which function it is allocated R274 MILLION in taxpayer money!
We state again Eskom belongs in the Department of Energy, Denel under Defence, SAFCOL to Department of Agriculture and so and so forth.
Having said that though, at this particular point in time it is the Department’s primary responsibility to conduct competent and effective oversight and Madame Minister we appeal to you to take this oversight role that you play seriously.
If there are undue pressures being placed on you to overlook or not act on individuals or private companies that are conducting business with State Owned Companies, then rest assured that you have the support of the entire portfolio committee who will be behind you and support you in any kind of investigation or action that you may institute against any of the State Owned Companies. We cannot continue to allow our SOCs to continue to act on the basis that they will in essence, do whatever they like.
Effective oversight means assuming watchful and responsible care and accounting to the taxpayers of this country and it is incumbent upon you to ensure that every rand spent by an SOC is a rand well spent in furthering the interests of the country and all of its people.
The Inkatha Freedom Party supports this budget vote.
I thank you.
Mr Narend Singh, MP
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IFP Media, Parliament