The ANC treasurer-general has called for the debate around privatisation or private investment into state-owned enterprises (SOEs) to be opened up, saying many of them were putting a strain on state coffers.
Zweli Mkhize was speaking at a Gordon Institute of Business Science event on Wednesday in which Professor Nick Binnedal quizzed the politician about the party’s policy on radical economic transformation.
Expressing concern about the country’s ailing SOEs, Mkhize said that alternatives needed to be looked into.
“The question has got to be … how do we make sure that SOEs do not overburden the fiscus, so how do you then take into account possibilities of private sector support in terms of access to additional financing, investment and so on? Because there is always tension about once you start calling for privatisation because you run into a lot of debate,” he said.
Mkhize said the state of the country’s SOEs was a concern within the party, which needed new approaches to finding solutions.
He went on to note the example of the looming grant payment crisis with the South African Social Security Agency (Sassa), saying that perhaps the agency should have the infrastructure to carry out grant payments without Cash Paymaster Services (CPS).
“There has been debate about the cost of running this service. A lot of debate is justifiable and I think it is important to make sure government looks at what is the core of the system and then what can be left out for competitive bidding in that process,” he said.
Mkhize also touched on a number of issues the party was facing ahead of this year’s elective conference, including factionalism, support decline and “a lot of tension” within the party.
“The ANC’s strength lies in the ability to harmonise differing views and to create a programme that is coherent for everyone.”