ANC says ‘no privatisation of SOEs’ but open to investments

Ace Magashule. Picture: News24
Ace Magashule. Picture: News24

Despite the challenges faced by state-owned enterprises (SOEs), the ANC has announced that its national executive committee (NEC) has resolved not to privatise the entities but is open to receiving investments with the government maintaining majority control.

This was announced by the party’s secretary-general Ace Magashule at Luthuli House on Wednesday as he revealed the resolutions of the ANC’s NEC meeting held over the past two days.

Referring to South African Airways’ (SAA) recent difficulties, Magashule noted that the NEC was content with the outcome of the airline being put into business rescue.

He added that, as long as the government remained the majority shareholder, survival options like business rescue were necessary.

The meeting concluded that the ANC will be taking a “comprehensive approach” to fixing SOEs and the party agreed with the move to place SAA under business rescue.

“The NEC agreed that the challenges faced by our SOEs require a comprehensive approach, as well as bold and creative solutions that give effect to the resolutions of national conference which states ‘the main purpose of SOEs is to operationalise the broad socio-economic development plans of government’,” said Magashule.

According to the NEC, the solution to the troubles plaguing SOEs is to appoint skilled and qualified board members that will safeguard institutions from inappropriate meddling

“Firm action is required to improve the governance and performance of SOEs by ensuring the appointment of skilled staff and qualified board members and protecting public institutions from improper interference,” said Magashule.

President Cyril Ramaphosa last week announced the decision to place the airline under business rescue, giving practitioner Les Matuson the power to run SAA.

He said that the decision was taken to ensure that the airline does not go into liquidation.

Alongside Magashule was NEC member Dakota Legoete who said that several funding methods for SAA were discussed at the NEC meeting.

Legoete said the NEC was also looking at the possibility of inviting stokvels to invest in SOEs by buying shares in the businesses.

“We discussed SOEs, we discussed possible models of equity partners, whether we look out for private companies, whether we look at other SOEs, whether we go for ordinary South Africans through investment schemes – be it stokvels – where they buy shares,” Dakota said.

Legoete added that privatisation was not in the plan.

“We are not going to privatise anything. We have policy positions; what we need to be doing at all times will be guided by policy conference decisions,” he said.

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