There’s no crisis at parastatals, maintains Sisulu

Human Settlements Minister Lindiwe Sisulu has denied that state owned enterprises are in crisis.

“The statement that there is a crisis in these enterprises is not true,” she told journalists yesterday as the ANC released its discussion documents ahead of the October 9 national general council. 

Sisulu made reference to recent comments by Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa that there were 700 of these enterprises but only a few were facing difficulty and not performing well.

“Nobody talks about Denel, which is doing extraordinary well. We could count many others. I think it is important that we don’t actually mix our numbers and take that which is in your face and make it the norm. It is not the norm,” she said. 

Sisulu said the government had acknowledged that there were problems with some state entities and was working to deal with those through the help of the report of the presidential review committee.
That report was with Cabinet and still had to be made public.

Sisulu said the report, which her colleague in government Naledi Pandor believed should have been released to the general public, would only be open for public scrutiny when the government was satisfied with its recommendations. 

“When the report was made to us at the lekgotla we actually discovered that we needed to define what we mean by state-owned enterprises. Because we discovered even in municipalities we have what would otherwise broadly be termed state-owned enterprises and these would go into their thousands,” she said. 

Some of the enterprises facing financial difficulties include Eskom, which was struggling to keep the lights on, the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa, South Africa Airways, the South Africa Post Office, Telkom and the South Africa National Roads Agency Limited.

The ANC’s head of policy, Jeff Radebe, said for the economy to grow, the country needed efficient state-owned enterprises.

In its discussion documents, the ANC noted a need to attend, “as a matter of urgency”, to issues around board and fiduciary duties, outline clear roles and responsibilities for the entities’ boards and executives, appoint competent board members and executives, develop a clear strategy for the management of the dual role that the state-owned entities have and also review factors that affect the sustainability and effectiveness of these enterprises.

Also on the cards at the national general council is the reviewing of policy interventions to help the economy grow.

The council is held every three years and provides a platform for party members to debate policies and propose ways to tackle problems facing the state and the party.

The ANC’s head of policy, Jeff Radebe, admitted that the economy was not growing fast enough and job targets were insufficient.

Also giving the ANC a headache – and is of top priority going to the national general council – is the country’s electricity crisis, which has been blamed for the slowing growth. 

“Resolving the energy issue is top on our priority list. There are very important proposals to improve governance on these institutions to ensure effective delivery of infrastructure.”

Radebe says the national general council must also assess the strength of so-called progressive forces and those who oppose the ANC.

“While there has been stirring of discontent among some motive forces of change, forces opposed to transformation have been emboldened to use unsafe development in government structures as an excuse to question the capability of black people to govern.”

The national general council will take place from October 9 to 12 at Gallagher Estate in Midrand. 
The ANC has released its documents, which it hopes would provide a paradigm shift, online to allow its structures and the public to engage them.

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