SOEs were the 'honey pots' of state capture - but we will find the stolen money, Gordhan vows

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Minister of Public Entreprises Pravin Gordhan says they are not going
to liquidate SAA and business rescue practitioners must turn it
around. Photo by Misheck Makora
Minister of Public Entreprises Pravin Gordhan says they are not going to liquidate SAA and business rescue practitioners must turn it around. Photo by Misheck Makora

While state-owned enterprises were the "honey pots" for state capture, the money that was stolen will be found and used to the benefit of South Africans, said Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan.

The minister made the remarks during the debate of the State of the Nation Address on Tuesday.

Gordhan said, if needed, criminal charges will be brought against those who are implicated in the stealing of funds from state-owned enterprises (SOEs) during the state capture years.

"We will trace funds wherever in the world they may be," he said. "Monies stolen by all sorts of role players will be returned to SA and used to the benefit of South Africans."

Gordhan said SOEs have a crucial role to play in growing the economy. But they need to first be restructured and reformed following the impacts of state capture.

"SOEs became honey pots of state capture through large procurement spend. We are still recovering from terrible damage caused by state capture."

He said the "architecture" of SOEs will change in 2021. Efforts are being made to address Eskom's financial and operational health.

Gordhan said the business rescue process of SAA is due for completion and that state arms manufacturer Denel will have a new business model in the next two to three months.

Earlier, Fin24 reported that Denel could run out of cash by the end of March, according to Treasury. Treasury has stressed the importance of Denel successfully implementing its turnaround plan.

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