Gordhan works to ‘recapture’ SA
PUBLIC Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan’s broom is sweeping clean, and it seems his decisive and urgent moves to clean up failing state-owned enterprises (SOEs) is being applauded from all quarters.
In Parliament on Tuesday, Gordhan said he would work to “recapture” South Africa’s debt-laden state-owned companies after years in which they were milked of billions of rands by politically connected businessmen.
Some of the appointments by Gordhan include Jabu Mabuza, Telkom’s chairperson and the president of Business Unity South Africa, being appointed as Eskom’s board chairperson. Former Land Bank chief executive and Absa Capital executive Phakamani Hadebe was appointed as Eskom’s acting group chief executive.
Former North West premier and struggle activist Popo Molefe has been named as the chairman of the interim Transnet board. Molefe will be joined on the board by Louis Zeuner‚ Ramasela Ganda‚ Ursula Fikelepi‚ Edward Kieswetter and Dimakatso Matshoga.
Gordhan yesterday explained that the failure of the Transnet board to act on damning findings of a report by law firm Werksmans was among the reasons for this week’s removal of the three remaining board members.
Gordhan said the Werksmans report was clear on what the Transnet board needed to do following the controversial R54.5 billion locomotives contract. Arms manufacturer Denel’s chief executive‚ Zwelakhe Ntshepe resigned with immediate effect this week. The board has appointed the chief executive of Denel Aeronautics‚ Michael Kgobe‚ as the acting group chief executive.
Political analyst Thabani Khumalo said he had expected the urgent changes that Gordhan’s broom mustered since his appointment in February.
“There has been huge damage done in the SOE sector for the last nine or 10 years… it has just been disastrous. It was almost non-functional and it desperately needed an urgent and decisive response,” Khumalo said.
He said the SOEs needed somebody who was aggressive in their approach to deal with it.
“He is definitely the right person for the job. He is bold, brave and decisive and that is what is needed to save the situation there,” he said.
Khumalo said his no-nonsense approach and clear strategy were enough to make those who felt “uncomfortable” jump ship before the axe fell.
The chief executive of the crime-fighting team at Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse, Wayne Duvenage, yesterday tweeted: “We commend Pravin Gordhan for an excellent DPE budget speech and his clear intentions to undo state capture and return SOEs to credible, profitable entities.
“His recognition for civil society’s role in this journey is much appreciated.”