SOEs will keep bleeding unless national interest comes first - Gordhan

Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan. (Photo: Bloomberg)
Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan. (Photo: Bloomberg)

All parties at state-owned companies must work together to turn them around, otherwise they will continue to "bleed", affecting jobs and the economy, says Minister of Public Enterprises Pravin Gordhan.

"[We have to] guard against each of us operating in our silos and doing our own thing, so to speak…but to be aware of the national responsibility that we have as we go forward," Gordhan told a Federation of Unions of South Africa (Fedusa) conference in Boksburg on Thursday.

Gordhan said "the process of recapturing state institutions is well on its way" but that it still requires determination, courage and participation from all stakeholders.

Since being appointed in March by President Cyril Ramaphosa, Gordhan has directed board shakeups at Transnet and Denel, and is overseeing a turnaround plan at Eskom.

SA moving in the right direction

The country is moving in the right direction to rebuild the economy, a state of nationhood and finding a common purpose, commented Gordhan.

"The process has started…whether it’s the land issue; the question of levels of concentration in our economy, which the new competition bill is going to begin to address; or the SOEs and the manner in which they function, and how they become sustainable," he said.

He called for "exceptional leadership" within government, business and labour - people who are able to see beyond their immediate needs and help the country achieve higher growth rates of 3%-5%.

Reaching that level of inclusivity and economic growth will require all constituencies to make both positive contributions and sacrifices, Gordhan warned.

He added that this level of leadership was required urgently, from all sectors of society, so that "we can indeed build on the New Dawn."

Treasury has predicted South Africa’s economy will grow by 1.5% in 2018, but Finance Minister Nhlanhla Nene has said this is a conservative estimate, and the figure could be higher in the October medium-term budget speech.

However, on Thursday, The Reserve Bank revised down the growth projection for 2018 to 1.2%.

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