Drive for enterprise

2013-02-17 10:00

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Minister of Public Enterprises Malusi Gigaba speaks to Carien du Plessis about the push for infrastructure development.

President Jacob Zuma didn’t mention state-owned enterprises. When can we expect to hear the outcome of their review, which has been long overdue?

It is with Cabinet for discussion. A decision will be taken in the first half of this year, hopefully in the first quarter.

The report has been finalised and tabled for recommendations. This was a presidential process, so it’s up to the presidency to comment.

The Infrastructure Development Bill is piloted by Economic Development Minister Ebrahim Patel. What is your role?

Economic Development is responsible for a broader plan.

My department is responsible for three big infrastructure projects: the roll-out of broadband, electricity infrastructure and logistics like rail.

Other departments are responsible for roads, transport and dams.

The bill was piloted by the presidential infrastructure coordinating commission, but someone must take accountability for the bill.

The commission’s secretariat is headed by Patel.

There have been complaints about Eskom’s proposed 16% tariff hikes over three years. Zuma was quiet about it. Do you think there will be a resolution?

The tariffs are related to Eskom’s electricity-build programme, which has to do with security of supply.

It is unfair, but necessary.

If the tariffs are too high, businesses will close, but if electricity supply stops, they won’t be able to invest here anyway.

We need to deal with the electricity-price policy, where we rely on the tariff for the funding of infrastructure.

Government needs to ask if it can’t provide more support to Eskom. There is also room to reduce the tariff.

Eskom applied for a 13% tariff increase. The other 3% are independent power producers and this can be reduced.

What were the highlights of the president’s speech for you and do you think he left anything out?

People expect you to address everything, but you don’t want to spend the whole night speaking.

It was comprehensive enough. For me, the highlights were the first issues in the address: jobs and the economy.

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