‘Govt not moving towards privatisation’

2014-10-22 15:05

Government will proceed with the sale of non-core assets, but this should not be read as a shift in policy towards privatisation, Finance Minister Nhlanhla Nene has said.

“Actually there are areas where government is not supposed to be and if there are areas where government is not supposed to be we should not shy away from the fact that actually those assets should be disposed of,” Nene told media before delivering his first medium-term budget today.

He declined to be drawn on the details, or to divulge whether this meant the state would proceed with the expected sale of its R28 billion stake in Vodacom.

“We are not going to be giving you the whole list now, because we are doing a review,” he said.

Nene said the sale of non-core assets would help the state to fulfil its developmental role by funding infrastructure expansion on the part of parastatals – which, he warned, would no longer be able to count on bail-outs from Treasury.

“The only time that we will be able to pass on those resources will be when we have realised those proceeds,” he said.

He dismissed a suggestion that this meant the state was proceeding with privatisation without using a politically-sensitive term.

“It is a clear realisation that we actually need to move in a direction that ensures that government focuses on what government is supposed to do, and the private sector focuses on what the private sector is supposed to do,” he said.

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