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Ramaphosa: We won't privatise state enterprises needed for development

Feb 07 2019 20:02
Lameez Omarjee

As government works on reforming state-owned enterprises, President Cyril Ramaphosa has assured that state assets will not be disposed if they are strategic for the development of the economy and South Africans.

The president delivered his State of the Nation Address from Parliament on Thursday evening. This is the 25th SONA of a democratic South Africa. The president shared on the progress made in turning around state-owned enterprises which have been plagued with corruption and mismanagement.

"We are making important progress in restoring the integrity and capacity of our strategic state-owned enterprises," Ramaphosa said.

Ramaphosa highlighted that over the past year, new boards had been appointed at Eskom, Denel, Transnet, Safcol, Prasa and SA Express. New boards had been mandated with addressing corruption of the past, ensuring their financial sustainability and charting a way forward for their future sustainability, Fin24 previously reported.

"We want our SOEs to be fully self-sufficient and be able to fulfil their development and economic role.

"Where SOEs are not able to raise sufficient financing from banks, from capital markets, from development finance institutions or from the fiscus, we will need to explore other mechanisms, such as strategic equity partnerships or selling off non-strategic assets," Ramaphosa said.

"As we do all this, we will not support any measures that, in any form, dispose of assets of the state that are strategic to the well-being of the economy and the people," he assured.

The Presidential SOE Council was established during the past year. It is meant to provide political oversight and strategic management to "reform, reposition and revitalise" SOEs, to fulfill their role in driving economic growth and development, he explained.

Government will also work on building relationships with the private sector and labour to jointly develop a strategic path for SOEs to "create jobs, enable inclusive growth and become operationally and financially sustainable".

"We have the task and the responsibility to safeguard, build and sustain these key institutions for future generations," he added.

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