Hon Chairperson and hon members, the second phase of our democratic transition will be characterised by taking decisive action, as only the ANC can, to effect thorough economic transformation and democratic consolidation.
This is critical not only in order to improve the quality of life of our people, but also to promote nation-building and social cohesion.
At the core of the second phase is a concerted drive to eradicate poverty and to reduce inequality. Every South African should enjoy a decent quality of life - not only some South Africans, as our opponents seek to ensure. This applies to both income and access to basic services.
The primary focus in this regard should be higher rates of economic growth and social inclusion, which will result in massive job creation, skills development and the provision of quality public goods and services. It also ensures the expansion of small and medium enterprises and co-operatives.
The National Infrastructure Plan seeks to change the structure of the economy and apartheid spatial distortions, supports both beneficiation and industrialisation and contributes to facilitating intra-Africa trade. As a flagship programme of the state, all spheres of government are joined in taking this forward.
Today marks an important milestone in the history of the NCOP. This is the first-ever legislated intervention of its kind dealing with infrastructure co-ordination. This legal intervention, in the form of the Infrastructure Development Bill, will result in the country's infrastructure being developed in an accelerated and sustainable manner and in a manner that restores the dignity of every South African by ensuring equal access to basic essential services.
The ANC's economic transformation programme seeks to promote a geographically inclusive economy. This will require that infrastructure development be rolled out in targeted areas - especially in the former TBVC states of Transkei, Bophuthatswana, Venda and Ciskei - in a phased manner.
A case in point is a well co-ordinated and integrated transport system, which will not only develop and change the spatial pattern of the country but will also have a fundamental impact on changing the lives of rural and semi-urban communities
In considering our position as the select committee, we noted the changes that the National Assembly had made to the Bill after its introduction and also the public participation that had been undertaken by the provinces. The select committee has not effected amendments to the Bill.
Together we shall make South Africa a better place to live in and together we shall move South Africa forward.
I want to thank hon Minister Ebrahim Patel; Deputy Minister Hlengiwe Mkhize; the Director-General, Ms Jennifer Schreiner; the staff of the Economic Development department; and also the committee members of the Select Committee on Economic Development for the thorough work that they did on this Bill.
I also thank the provinces for the thorough work done in preparing this piece of legislation.
The select committee tables the Bill for consideration and adoption by the Council. I thank you, Chair. [Applause.]
Question put: That the Bill be agreed to.