Thank you very much, Chairperson. [Interjections.] Well, I am not surprised at the confusion, because we have actually dealt with several reports and several colloquiums.
In this particular case the consideration of the report we dealt with in the Fourth Parliament, and we adopted it in the Fifth Parliament. It was in the Announcements, Tablings and Committee Reports of 28 October 2014. That was when we became aware of some of the challenges to manufacturing; some of the challenges to a labour-intensive economy. [Interjections.]
Hon Fubbs, are you on Order No 9?
I am on Order No 9.
Thank you. Continue.
The report is on "Implementation of Industrial Policy Action Plan with specific reference to state of manufacturing sector".
In particular, it became apparent during the colloquium that administrative prices and also import parity pricing issues were a challenge.
What we were able to do with administrative prices at that time was to address the very high port charges with respect to manufactured goods, where more was being paid there than on raw minerals going out of our ports. That was addressed.
However, the point we made, even as we came into this Parliament, was that we needed further readjustment of the port charges and of all administrative prices. At the same time we called upon manufacturing companies, plants and factories to be more innovative and to look into identifying ways they could use wind energy, solar energy and the likes. So, it was a two-way street in this regard.
In that colloquium we also identified the fact that we needed to create more jobs rapidly, and that manufacturing had the capacity to do that. That was unanimous - everyone agreed. The problem was just how we should do it.
In that same colloquium, which is on the ATC of 28 October 2014, Order 9, we also identified that it would be very important to have another colloquium, because it was quite clear that we continued to have a distorted economy and we continued to be dominated by a monopoly of companies.
We needed to get through that. We needed to ensure that legislation was harmonised so that we could get the full impact of the legislation. Just let me give you one example. This is in regard to steel pricing and raw materials, and it came out at that time. We realised that the Ipap was not simply a Trade and Industry issue, but an issue that included several other departments, among them in the main Mineral Resources, Energy, Public Enterprises and the like. And so the ANC government took a decision that it would establish a task team which it did. Thank you.
There was no debate.
Hon House Chair, I move:
That the Report be adopted.
Madam House Chair, the DA would like to make a declaration.
Declarations of vote:
Thank you, Madam Chair. This colloquium happened more than a year ago, at the beginning of 2013, so it's long overdue to come to the House. It was put on the Announcements, Tablings and Committee Reports again last week. I would really recommend that members on both sides of the House please go and read the report, because it gives a very revealing and frank insight into what is really ailing the manufacturing sector in South Africa.
Nearly every single one - in fact, I think it was every single one - of the presenters who came and presented to the committee during the days of the colloquium made the point that the biggest inhibitor of the manufacturing factor in South Africa is the administered prices: specifically the price of electricity, the price of our ports and the price of rail transport around the country.
Now, it is true, as the hon Fubbs says, that we were able to secure a very marginal concession on the price of our port charges during the colloquium. We thank Transnet and the National Ports Authority for that. However, the fact remains that South Africa still has some of the, if not the most expensive, inefficient and slow ports in the world. As long as that remains the case, we really cannot hope to be a global export leader.
In regard to electricity, Chairperson, as I said, nearly every presenter listed electricity as a huge inhibitor of the manufacturing sector. Last week Eskom once again called on major industrial users to reduce consumption by 10%. This is very bad news for mining houses, smelters and all manufacturers in an economy that already has 25,5% unemployment. When you are trying to foster manufacturing and you tell your manufacturers that they have to reduce their electricity usage, in a sector which is the biggest user of electricity in South Africa, then that really makes manufacturing growth an impossibility.
Let me just make one point now that I won't need make in the debate that is coming up after this one. The government is looking into investing nearly R1 trillion in a Russian nuclear energy deal. Let me say that the end-user price of that electricity is going to be so prohibitive that it will kill off any effort to grow manufacturing in this country. If every manufacturer came to Parliament and said electricity prices were the number one challenge they faced as manufacturers, and then you told them that the price of electricity was going to go up significantly as a result of the nuclear deal, then really the debate on beneficiation is completely moot.
So, government needs to decide whether it is serious about manufacturing, and it needs to look at the prices it already controls, if it wants to give some assistance and subsidy to the manufacturing sector. It must not go and control prices in the private sector, as it proposes to do in the report that we are about to debate. Thank you. [Applause.]
HON MEMBERS: Hear, hear!
Thank you, Madam Chair. Certainly, part of what has already been said here by the DA, by the hon Hill-Lewis, is correct, but what is not entirely correct is the issue around energy. This is because what we did say, and it is what the ANC supports, is that the position of the ANC is to look at alternatives, a mixed grouping of energy, and not one type only. It should rather be a broad spectrum. The fact that we are looking at nuclear energy is simply one aspect.
We are busy with this right now. The Minister of Trade and Industry, hon Rob Davies, only last week, I think, launched a plant that is manufacturing or fabricating wind towers in your own province. I am surprised that you didn't even mention it - it is in your own province! [Interjections.] [Laughter.] But, of course, when the ANC brings manufacturing to the Western Cape, oh, oh, it's no good! [Interjections.] The only time wind is of any good is when a DA person launches it. Well, how ridiculous can you get? Let us avoid ... [Interjections.] The ANC is saying, let us avoid kitchen politics and recognise the substance of our actions. Thank you. [Applause.]
Thank you very much. I now put the question. Are there any objections?
Oh! Please don't do that to me. I asked for a show of hands beforehand, and there was nobody. However, you are allowed to go ahead, sir.
Thank you, hon Madam House Chair. The DTI's Ipap is supported by the IFP as a relevant policy to improve industrialisation and to fight unemployment. Gone are the days when South Africa's raw materials flooded international markets, only to be processed and brought back to South Africa as finished products, where they would be sold at exorbitant prices. The IFP appeals to government to help subsidise service providers, if they want them to compete favourably on the international market. This is because South African industrialists are competing with Brics countries, which are heavily subsidised.
In conclusion, the government is urged to provide other incentives, such as tax rebates and discounts on electricity bills, to encourage overseas investors to invest in South Africa. I thank you.
Thank you. That was the last declaration that was asked for. I now put the question again. Are there any objections to this report? No objections.
Motion agreed to.
Report accordingly adopted.