Honourable House Chairperson, as we consider this BRRR, the ACDP agrees with a policy brief put out by the OECD, which states that scientific advances and technological change are important drivers of economic performance. The ability to create, distribute and exploit knowledge has become a major source of competitive advantage, wealth creation and improvements in the quality of life.
Science and innovation unleashes the positive impact of ICT on the economy and on society. It promotes the application of recent scientific advances in new products and processes. It is evident that a high rate of innovation leads to a shift to more knowledge-intensive industries and services and rising skill requirements.
Clearly, the constructs of science and innovation are invaluable to the socio-economic development of South Africa. However, according to this report, this development will not be realised where only 53% of planned targets are achieved, with 99.6% of the total allocated budget spent. It will not be achieved when TVET colleges’ infrastructure plans are not approved as planned. It will not be achieved when the Auditor-General identifies material findings related to four delivery programmes against University Education, TVET, Skills Development and CET. It will not be achieved when NSFAS, TVET colleges and universities (including UNISA) have outstanding audits. It will certainly not take place when the Higher Education and Training Portfolio rakes up irregular expenditure of some R1.7 billion.
The ACDP acknowledges the recommendations in this report, but we will not hold our breathe in seeing their implementation. Unlike the ACDP, the ANC has shown that it lacks the moral and intestinal fortitude to implement the Zondo Commission’s recommendations, and those to fix Eskom, Transnet, PRASA, among other SOEs.