Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan told Parliament on Wednesday that a green paper for a bill which would allow the department to exercise stronger oversight over parastatals would be ready within the 2019/20 financial year, and is expected to be enacted by the 2021/22 financial year.
He was addressing the select committee on public enterprises and communications on the Department of Public Enterprises’ annual performance plans and budget. Gordhan said the ultimate goal was to have self-sustaining entities whose executives the department could hold accountable.
Gordhan said the presidential review committee into state owned-enterprises determined that the Shareholder Management Bill be developed to empower the department to execute its shareholder management responsibility and oversee the state of government's entities.
"We want to get to a point where no entity comes to government and says it needs a bailout. They need to be self-sustained.
"The department will develop the green paper during the course of the current financial year," Gordhan said.
Gordhan said the department's largest cost driver remained compensation of employees, which was expected to increase from R171.4m in 2018-19 to R211.2m in 2021-22.
"Three-quarters of the staff at the department should be experts in their respective fields but currently the majority of staff are support staff," Gordhan said.
While the department's budget overview pegs spending on administration to climb from R151m in 2018/19 to R186m in 2021/22 and state-owned entity governance from R39m to R50m in the same period, spending on business enhancement, transformation and industrialisation will decrease from R6.3bn to R95m in the same period.
A good sport
Gordhan showed his sense of humour in the face of accusations before the meeting's agenda was adopted.
Before the meeting could begin, Economic Freedom Fighters MP Nkangisang Koni recused herself from the meeting, refusing to be addressed by Gordhan in light of Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane's findings against him in a report. Gordhan is challenging the report in court.
"I would like to tender the apologies of the committee members from the EFF. I would also like to say something out of respect for the Constitution. I would like, respectfully, to recuse myself from this meeting, as I cannot, as a Member of Parliament, be addressed by Joshua Doore over there," said Koni.
As Koni left, Gordhan showed no signs of being flustered, even quipping: "Goodbye. Have a good day. Ai, you forgot to mention 'constitutional delinquent'".
The department’s budget overall is expected to decrease from R6.5bn in 2018-19 to R332m in 2021-22.