Gord­han works to ‘re­cap­ture’ SA

The Mercury - - NEWS - Kai­lene Pil­lay

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.

Ag­gres­sive

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.”

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