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Focus on SOE crises, not individuals, ANC tells govt

Jul 27 2015 21:05
Genevieve Quintal, News24

Johannesburg - The ANC wants the government to urgently attend to the apparent crises within its state-owned companies - but the problem must not be focused on individuals, secretary general Gwede Mantashe said on Monday.

"The state-owned companies remain critical economic levers of the developmental state," he told reporters in Johannesburg. "They must be optimally used to  improve economic infrastructure and increase economic growth."

He was speaking after the ANC held a three-day lekgotla [meeting] in Pretoria at the weekend and at the start of the Cabinet lekgotla on Monday.

He said the issues in the state-owned companies would not be sorted out by dealing with personalities.

"Let's deal with the real problems. State-owned companies are not individuals."

It becomes a problem once an individual becomes bigger than the company, Mantashe said.

He did not elaborate on what the ANC believed were the problems within state-owned companies.

He said that not all of these companies were in trouble.

"When we see a problem in Eskom, we say state-owned companies are in crisis, but many are doing very well as drivers of the economy."

He said state-owned enterprises were not about making a profit, but about delivering public goods.

"That's how we should be dealing with state-owned companies," he said.

A number of state-owned companies are facing problems.

The Passenger Rail Agency of SA axed its chief executive officer Lucky Montana and, less than 48 hours after that decision, suspended its head engineer Daniel Mthimkhulu following an investigation into his qualifications.

Prasa confirmed on Monday afternoon that Mthimkhulu has resigned but said it proceed with its criminal case brought against Mr Mthimkulu.

“Mthimkhulu was facing a disciplinary inquiry relating to gross dishonesty and fraudulent misrepresentation of his academic qualifications,” Prasa spokesperson, Sipho Sithole, told Fin24.

SA Airways has also been facing financial problems.

It's chief strategy officer Barry Parsons resigned last week. In what is believed to be his resignation letter, Parsons said he had "lost all confidence in the board to lead and progress the business" and described the board as ''dysfunctional'' and with a ''compromised'' integrity.

State energy company Eskom is battling to keep the lights on around the country.

Mantashe said the lekgotla received reassurance that unit six coal-fired power station Medupi will be fully commissioned next month.

"[The] lekgotla expressed a desire that this date will not be shifted again," he said.

The lekgotla also wanted the state-owned mining company to be strengthened. This comes in the wake of retrenchments in the mining sector.

Mantashe said the ANC was calling on these companies to review their decision to let workers go.

Resolutions taken at the lekgotla will form part of the inputs at the Cabinet lekgotla.

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