Ramaphosa announces council to reform SA's state-owned enterprises

SA may need "less orthodox" approaches to finance the unprecedented R500 billion stimulus package announced by Predident Ramaphosa, say economists.
SA may need "less orthodox" approaches to finance the unprecedented R500 billion stimulus package announced by Predident Ramaphosa, say economists.
  • Council will support the repositioning of state-owned enterprises
  • It will help implement turnaround strategies of companies
  • Council members are drawn from the business and academic sector

President Cyril Ramaphosa has appointed members of the Presidential State-Owned Enterprises Council, the Presidency announced on Thursday evening. 

The council will support government in repositioning state-owned enterprises "as effective instruments of economic transformation and development", the Presidency said in a statement.

Among its responsibilities will be developing a stronger framework for governing the country's SOEs, many of which have failed to achieve clean audits in recent years. 

Reforms will include the introduction of an overarching Act governing SOEs and stabilising companies through a new shareholder ownership model. 

They will also help implement agreed turnaround strategies. 

The council, which will be led by Ramaphosa, includes Cabinet ministers overseeing SOEs as well as the following members: 

  • Monhla Hlahla: Chairperson of Denel
  • Joel Khathuthshelo Netshitenzhe: Executive Director and Board Vice-Chairperson of the Mapungubwe Institute for Strategic Reflection (MISTRA)
  • Vusi Khanyile: Chairperson of Thebe Investments 
  • Michael Sachs: Adjunct Professor at Wits University
  • Marion Lesego Dawn Marole: Non-Executive Director of MTN Group Ltd and Development Bank of South Africa
  • Bajabulile Swazi Tshabalala: Vice President for Finance and Chief Financial Officer at African Development Bank
  • Sipho Nkosi: Director of the Sanlam Board
  • Kandimathie Christine Ramon: Chief Financial Officer at Anglo Gold Ashanti
  • Ian Kirk: Group Chief Executive Officer and Executive Director at Sanlam
  • Nazmeera Moola: Economist and Head of investments at asset manager Ninety One.
  • Government said the council will also review the business models and sources of financing.

"The council will also review SOE corporate plans to ensure alignment to government priorities and to ensure appropriate systems are in place," according to the Presidency, as well as the operational and financial performance of the companies.

In his state of the nation address in 2019, Ramaphosa said the council would work to create better coherence between government's ailing entities to fine-tune each one's mandate and sharpen efficiencies.

The impact of the country’s ailing state-owned entities on public finances is often flagged by rating agencies and global agencies, as they often turn to government for financial support and loan guarantees.   

Government has over the past 12 years allocated R162 billion to financially distressed SOEs, of which Eskom accounts for more than 80%. The power utility is in the process of being divided into three entities, which would focus on generation, transmission and distribution. 

The national carrier, SAA, which is in business rescue, has also been a recipient of significance government funding as it battled to make a profit while racking up debt. 

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