Mantashe, Hogan sit down to talk

2009-06-12 22:13

Johannesburg - ANC secretary-general Gwede Mantashe and Public Enterprises Minister Barbara Hogan met to discuss her reported public comments on the sale of state assets on Friday.

Mantashe, Hogan and her deputy Enoch Godongwana met at ANC headquarters Luthuli House and described the meeting as "very constructive as it allowed for clarity on all issues", the party said in a statement.

Business Day reported on Wednesday that Hogan had warned unprofitable state-owned enterprises that the new administration might be prepared to sell them if they continued to underperform, as the state could not afford to bail them out indefinitely.

She conceded, however, that selling any of the businesses in the current economic environment would be extremely difficult, not to mention the stiff political resistance that such a move would encounter, the newspaper reported.

This irked the ruling party and its alliance partners with Mantashe, according to a report in The Times, accusing the minister of "running ahead" of herself.

"You cannot have a general approach to the privatisation of state-owned enterprises. Only when you have done an assessment will you know what you are talking about. You need to strengthen those state assets, not sell them off," Mantashe was quoted as saying.

According to the report Hogan's threat was contrary to a stated post-Polokwane ANC policy of holding onto parastatals and using them to drive economic development.