Cape Town — The Minister in the Presidency responsible for Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation, Jeff Radebe, says Operation Phakisa in the oceans economy has unlocked R7.3 billion in investments.
The Minister said this when he tabled his department's Budget Vote in the National Assembly on Wednesday.
"Since its launch by President [Jacob] Zuma in July 2014, Operation Phakisa in the oceans economy has unlocked R7.323 billion in both public and private sector investments, and a total of 6 952 jobs have been created," the Minister said.
Transnet's National Ports Authority is undertaking infrastructure improvement projects at ports such as Richards Bay, Saldanha Bay and Port Elizabeth, among others.
The projects have created an additional 602 jobs, the bulk of which are for women and youth.
Progress report on Operation Phakisa in other sectors
Minister Radebe said, meanwhile, that Operation Phakisa in Information and Communication Technology has progressed well since it was launched in 2016.
The initiative has seen 2 884 schools receiving mobile trolley tablets for learners, and 221 special schools being connected.
Approximately 125 Teacher Resource Centres were connected out of a total of 147.
"On average, 20 000 teachers have been trained per quota on the use of ICT.
"Progress has also been made in the development of e-content, with 978 schools having received OpenView HD in the 2016/17 financial year," he said.
Minister Radebe said in partnership with OpenView HD, DSTV, StarSat and Mindset, the Department of Basic Education channel is available on various platforms.
Paying suppliers within 30 days
The Minister said the non-payment of suppliers has a significant negative impact on the sustainability of small businesses, economic growth and job creation.
He said through the 30 Days Payment Unit, the department is tasked with ensuring that departments and State agencies meet their obligations to the Public Finance Management Act and the Municipal Finance Management Act to pay suppliers within 30 days.
"This work is yielding positive results.
"Out of a total of 207 cases of non-payment of invoices received from service providers, as at end of March 2016, R327 million has been paid as a result of the department's intervention," he said.
The Minister said, however, that while the department was seeing "pockets of success" with an increased number of departments paying on time, certain sectors remain stubborn.
"The unit has during the 2015/16 financial year visited defaulting departments both at national and provincial level to determine the root causes of non-payment, assess payment mechanisms and assisted in resolving such.
"Furthermore, I have undertaken roadshows to engage with service providers and assured them of the support from my department where their invoices have not been paid by government.
"I would like to urge all government institutions to ensure that legitimate invoices are paid within 30 days.
"Cash flow is the lifeblood of small business, a vehicle for delivery of services and a lever to achieve and inclusive economic growth," he said.