SA working hard to restore SOEs’ stability

Thursday, June 28, 2018

Finance Minister Nhlanhla Nene says government is leaving no stone unturned in returning State Owned Enterprises (SOEs) to their former glory, the success of which will improve the economic outlook of the country.

“If you look at state owned enterprises, their base would not have been as eroded as they are now because of state capture. We are faced with rebuilding those SOEs that have been most affected.

“There is a broader state owned enterprises reform process underway. We are working on all our SOEs to deal with financial sustainability and business models to make sure they are returned to playing their meaningful role in building the economy,” said Nene.

The Minister made the remarks at a media briefing ahead of the World Economic Forum (WEF) roundtable with government in Rosebank, Johannesburg.

The aim of the roundtable, which will be led by President Cyril Ramaphosa alongside key ministers and business leaders, is to look at the role of business in shaping an inclusive and sustainable agenda for South Africans.

Business heavyweights such as mining magnet and Executive Chairman of African Rainbow Minerals Patrice Motsepe, President of Coca Cola Company Brian Smith, Barclays Group CEO Maria Ramos are some of the business leaders set to participate in discussions.

The roundtable with the WEF business community serves as a precursor to government’s Investment Conference set to take place in October this year.

Nene said government would use the roundtable to look for viable solutions to re-energise the country’s economy by tackling the triple challenges of inequality, poverty and unemployment.

“We are ready to engage with WEF partners. Government and private sector are engaging on how to take the country forward. We will be participating vigorously, we will be open and frank about our challenges and focusing energy on finding solutions,” said the Minister.  

In its fight to bring stability to SOEs, Nene said Eskom was top of government’s agenda with a specific focus on its governance.

“Eskom is indeed a threat but we are paying attention to dealing with Eskom and addressing issues of governance there. We have a board there and most of the people involved in corruption are being dealt with, and some are no longer with Eskom,” said Nene.

Despite the sluggish economy, Nene said, government is starting to see some greenshoots which is proof that investors are open to investing in the country.  

“Old Mutual is back on our shores. On Tuesday, Mercedes-Benz also announced they are investing R10 billion in expanding their plant. It’s a sign that people are heeding the call to invest,” he said. –