Speaker and Honourable Members,
The UDM supports the Bill.
We support the extension of the mandate of the Development Bank of Southern Africa to provide infrastructure development finance to key infrastructure sectors, such as water and sanitation, energy, transport, education, health and ICT beyond the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC), that is, to the rest of the African continent.
This step will in our view go a long way towards enhancing trade, economic growth and development on the continent.
There are however several areas of concern to consider. First, there have been many instances in the past, where the work of the Industrial Development Corporation (IDC) and the Land Bank clashed with the mandate of DBSA. As already indicated earlier, there is potential for the mandate of DBSA to clash and overlap with that of the African Development Bank. Therefore, more effort needs to be put into refocusing the mandate of all these institutions in order to ensure value for money and to prevent a wastage of government resources that results from duplication of work.
Second, a large chunk of DBSA’s disbursements go to municipalities. It therefore follows that, while it is prudent not to amend the Act in order to allow for representation of local government or other “interest group” – as the Committee aptly put it, we cannot overemphasise the importance of DBSA forging close relationships with municipalities, as they are its biggest clients.
Third, the increase in authorised share capital is welcome. We however hope that by not identifying certain areas of focus on the continent, we are not stretching ourselves too thin. By biting more than we can chew we run the risk of DBSA not being effective in its infrastructure development programme in South Africa and the continent. Even worse it might find itself encountering financial difficulties in future.