Newly elected president Cyril Ramaphosa has turned his attention to State Owned Enterprises (SOEs) to ensure that they deliver on their mandate.

In his inaugural State of the Nation Address (SONA) the president said that government would intervene decisively to stabilise and revitalise state owned enterprises.

The president added that government would take further measures to ensure that all state owned companies fulfil their economic and developmental mandates.

Confronting structural challenges

Ramaphosa noted that government would need to confront the reality that some of the challenges at its SOEs were structural and that they simply do not have sufficient revenue to fund their operational costs.

“These SOEs cannot borrow their way out of their financial difficulties, and we will therefore undertake a process of consultation with all stakeholders to review the funding model of SOEs and other measures,” Ramaphosa said.

Rooting out corruption

The president said recent action taken by government at Eskom to strengthen governance, root out corruption and restore the utility’s financial position was just the beginning.

“We will change the way that boards are appointed so that only people with expertise, experience and integrity serve in these vital positions. We will remove board members from any role in procurement and work with the Auditor-General to strengthen external audit processes,” he explained.

Ramaphosa said as they address challenges in specific companies, government will continue on the broad architecture of the state owned enterprises sector to achieve better coordination, oversight and sustainability.

“This is the year in which we will turn the tide of corruption in our public institutions. The criminal justice institutions have been taking initiatives that will enable us to deal effectively with corruption,” the president said.

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