News / South Africa

Gosebo Mathope
2 minute read
25 May 2017
6:36 pm

Return SOEs to line function departments, opposition MPs tell Brown

Gosebo Mathope

Opposition parties question the rationale of having a public enterprises department that dismally fails to provide oversight and argue it must close shop.

Parliament file picture

Speaking during the budget vote on public enterprises, opposition parties agreed that due to its failure to provide oversight over state entities, the department of public enterprises must be disbanded and various entities be returned to line function departments.

Narend Singh of the IFP said continued lack of oversight had resulted in a situation where the Gupta family “put a card in the ATM and money comes out for them”. He described Tuesday’s meeting, where Eskom was answering on ‘Molefe-gate’, as “a comedy of errors”.

“Why does a glorious movement like the ANC, that fought for the liberation, put itself through that shame and embarrassment? A lot is wrong at Eskom and there is a lot of prima facie evidence in the state capture report,” Singh submitted.

The NFP said it was opposed to the government owning entities that were not aligned to a developmental agenda.

Minister Brown was told to return Denel to defence, Safcol to agriculture and forestry, Eskom to energy, Transnet and SAA to transport and Alexcor to the mining department, and close shop.

READ MORE: No R30m payout for Brian Molefe, says Lynne Brown

Nqabayomzi Kwankwa of the UDM said those looting “have lost their sense of decency and [are] running helter skelter to loot the state as much as they could in the shortest space of time. We have [an] official and unofficial ANC: they allow Zuma and his cronies to run around amok. Once we have removed him from power, you will say the emperor has no clothes.”

Kwankwa said most SOEs had weak accounting systems and “ANC cadres who could not be deployed into parliament or the executive are dumped at SOEs. How do you explain Dr Ngubane from SABC to Eskom?”

Deidre Carter of Cope told Minister Lynne Brown that the South African Council of Churches’ (SACC) “Un-Burdening Report” had outlined how state enterprises were deliberately weakened to facilitate looting.

The only vote we will support is the one against the president and his cabinet.

“The dots create a link to you through your lack of action; you are a state shareholder. You bear primary responsibility to ensure Eskom fulfils its duties,” she told Brown, and reminded her that a journalist had previously asked whether there was a “disconnect between principled Lynne Brown [the activist] and Lynne Brown the minister”.

“The only vote we will support is the one against the president and his cabinet,” Carter said.

During his first time in office, Zuma commissioned a “presidential review committee of state-owned entities”, chaired by the suspended police commissioner, Riah Phiyega.

Its final report was heavily criticised by analysts and experts for containing 29 recommendations without technical or implementation guidance.


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