‘Fight the scourge’

2016-03-21 12:00
Deputy Finance Minister Mcebisi Jonas. (News24Live)

Deputy Finance Minister Mcebisi Jonas. (News24Live)

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Pietermaritzburg - Deputy Finance Minister Mcebisi Jonas, who visited Pietermaritzburg at the weekend, has dared South Africans to fight the scourge of “state capture by few companies”.

Jonas recently confirmed that he is one of the people who were approached by the Gupta family, when the controversial family allegedly shopped for a Finance minister prior to the firing of the then minister Nhlanhla Nene.

Speaking at a business breakfast organised by Morar Incorporated in Pietermaritzburg at the weekend, Jonas said history will judge South Africans if they do not stand up against the scourge.

Jonas said only a few companies are benefiting from state procurement processes.

“The thing is we need to drive society to a point where we are open about these things. We need to be blunt and open about these things.”

Jonas said his friend from a country he would not mention once applied for a chief executive officer position in a railway agency although he did not have either qualifications nor technical know-how.

Upon confronting his friend about his lack of qualifications, he had replied: “In this country we do not work on technical know-how, but we work on technical know-who,” said Jonas.

“He eventually got the job. Within six months of getting that job, that thing was run to the ground.

“We should not reach a point where technical know-who determines whether you get a business permit or licence to mine,” he said.

Jonas said it is for the common good of the country that citizens become vocal about these things.

“Society must deal with these things. We have a country that has a very rich history in terms of where we are coming from where we fought against these tendencies.

“Every objective that we think about will be undermined by our failure to stand up against these things,” he said.

MOST state-owned enterprises and public entities are not worth the trouble, Deputy Minister of Finance Mcebisi Jonas has said.

“We have so many public entities and state-owned enterprises. Some of them have reached their sell-by date and some are duplicating what government departments are doing,” he said.

Jonas said most state-owned enterprises were not proving to be value for money for government.

State guarantees in respect of their borrowing was sitting at probably around R460 billion.

“Some of them have borrowing programmes that are robust. You can see that they are driven by borrowing further effectively,” he said.

If the entities default on payment arrangements, it comes back to haunt the state, he said.

Although they are state-owned or controlled, only the private sector is benefiting from these entities, he said.

“Where do they borrow? They go to financial markets and the private sector anyway. If you look at their financial expenditure, you then ask yourself the question, who delivers these programmes? Again it is the private sector.

“Then you ask yourself where is the state control? All risks are sitting with state and the private sector is sitting with upside,” he said.

Read more on:    mcebisi jonas  |  pietermaritzburg

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