Do lifestyle audits on all SOE board members, parliamentary committee demands

The Portfolio Committee on Public Enterprises wants lifestyle audits on all board members of state-owned enterprises as well as director-generals, it said on Wednesday.

The committee was briefed by the Department of Public Enterprises on its annual performance plan and budget for the 2019/20 financial year.

According to the committee, such lifestyle audits would be risk assessments in the right direction. In its view, based on the department's presentation, this is nowhere near where it should be.

Want 'incorruptible' SOEs

The chairperson for the committee, Khayalethu Magaxa, said it wants to take the process forward and deal with problems in SOEs.

"We want incorruptible SOEs, profitable and sustainable," said Magaxa. Briefing the committee, Deputy Minister Phumulo Masualle said the department is working on governance to stabilise SOEs that fall under the department. To this end, new boards have been established at Eskom, Safcol, Denel, Transnet, SA Express and Alexkor.

"Yes, there are challenges in SOEs – the balance sheet, debt - but we have strategies in place," said Masualle.

Turnarounds

South African Airways (SAA) has a long-term strategy and turnaround plan. The implementation of the plans and strategies will get SOEs back on their feet, he added. On Eskom, the committee asked if there is a bailout and if there is a way for Eskom to finance its debt, considering that some of Eskom customers are unable to pay their bills.

The deputy minister said there are plans in place and restructuring to address challenges in SOEs. In response he was told by committee members that all the public wants to know is if these will work. The committee welcomed the establishment of the anti-fraud and corruption hotline.

The committee also noted with concern employment equity challenges and the failure to reach targets, especially for people living with disabilities. Furthermore, the committee would like to see the prosecution of those who have committed crimes.

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