Restoring Eskom back to its glory days will take a long hard struggle - Gordhan

2019-10-11 23:04
Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan (Denzil Maragele, Netwerk24)

Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan (Denzil Maragele, Netwerk24)

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Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan said restoring struggling Eskom back to its glory days will not happen overnight.

Gordhan was speaking at the Second Inclusive Growth Forum, which was hosted by the Kgalema Motlanthe Foundation on Friday night.

"The government has placed a lot of emphasis on getting Eskom right and that process won't happen overnight. It is going to be long hard struggle."

Gordhan said the power utility was among some state-owned entities that were looted under the previous administration, adding that it was one of the main targets of state capture and corruption.

"… somewhere between R20bn and more were lost. Even where we sit today, there are seven companies that are supplying coal to Eskom that make more than a 100% profit. There are other four or five companies that make more than 50% profit.

"Is that the kind of conduct we want to see from our business community?"

Gordhan said what saddened him was that some key individuals behind the rampant looting of state-owned enterprises (SOEs) were still occupying key positions in those entities.

"SOEs could have been effective shapers of markets in a way the economy works. But, for the last 10 years it is precisely the opposite in the shape of anything, expect for shaping malfeasance and actually undermining the economy. Those at the heart of it have effectively sabotaged the economic trajectory.

READ: Eskom challenges latest power tariff decision in court

"One of the most damaging effects of state capture has been the disruption of operations in each of these entities. Port efficiencies have gone. We have the most inefficient ports on the whole of the African continent and elsewhere.

"Freight logistics have let us down where investments could have been made, no investments takes place, where maintenance of important lines that export our commodities should be undertaken once a year hasn't happened for many years because all the money was directed toward capital projects from which there you were not worried about stealing R10m or R20m at a time there you can steal R10bn at a time. So why not direct all the money there," he said.

Gordhan said looting, which has continued unabated, had severely affected finances of many of state institutions. 

He lauded the recent raids at some properties including that of former eThekwini mayor, Zanele Gumede, where assets and expensive vehicles were seized, claiming there were more of those vehicles parked in garages across the country. 

Gordhan said if SARS was operating as it did some 10 years ago, each of the owners of those assets would have been audited by it.

Read more on:    eskom  |  pravin gordhan  |  politics
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