Hogan 'completely out of line'

2009-06-12 08:02

Cape Town - Public Enterprises Minister Barbara Hogan is once again in the line of fire due to statements which are in conflict with the ANC’s official policy.

Her “transgression” this time is saying that certain struggling state-owned enterprises may have to be sold off – precisely the opposite of what was decided at the ANC’s Polokwane conference.

The minister was harshly criticised about this on Thursday by ANC secretary-general Gwede Mantashe, amongst others. “You can’t have an ANC minister who makes up policy as she goes along,” he said on SAfm.

However, Mantashe later refused to comment on any possible disciplinary steps against Hogan: “I don’t think that is a matter to be discussed with the media.”

Out of line

Vytjie Mentor, chairperson of the portfolio committee for public enterprises, described the minister’s comments as “completely out of line”.

“She did not consult the portfolio committee of the ANC regarding what the entirety of the policy changes are,” Mentor said at a special news conference after the ANC’s caucus meeting.

Pieter du Toit reported that Hogan appeared gloomy when she arrived at the meeting. The National Union of Mineworkers accused her of “promoting the Democratic Alliance’s agenda”.

Dr Manie van Dyk, DA shadow minister of public enterprises, said it’s a pity that Hogan is under fire for her “fresh, new approach”.

Her predecessor, Alec Erwin, “as an outspoken communist, was ideologically bound to the idea that enterprises should be controlled by the state, but this wasn’t managed effectively.”

Dalai Lama controversy

In March – when she was still in charge of the health portfolio – Hogan also provoked the wrath of the ANC alliance, by publicly criticising the government’s decision not to give the Dalai Lama a visa to visit South Africa.

On Wednesday she said: “We are living in difficult times, and we cannot afford the luxury of spending money on turnaround strategies which take time to show results.”

Mantashe said the minister’s duty was to make governmental enterprises profitable.