Speed Up Oversight Bill On SOEs Says Public Enterprises

Riyaz Patel

The Department of Public Enterprises wants the Shareholder Management Bill to be fast-tracked to allow tighter oversight over State-Owned Enterprises (SOEs).

Deputy Public Enterprises Minister, Phumulo Masualle, told Parliament’s Portfolio Committee on Public Enterprises, “There is a thinking that we should take it back as the department to see if we cannot achieve that in a much shorter time.”

DPE Annual Performance Plan 19/20

Masualle said the bill, which has been in the pipeline for years, could serve as an important intervention to turn around the fortunes of the country’s troubled state-owned enterprises.

Several public enterprises, in addition to falling victim to allegations of state capture, have also been plagued with disciplinary action relating to top jobs, revolving CEOs, maladministration, and millions in wasteful expenditure.

President Cyril Ramaphosa has met with chief executives of South Africa’s 20 state-owned companies to discuss the worrying state of the SOEs.

The Presidency said several entities are struggling with “inadequate capitalisation,” “poor governance” and “political interference.”

The Shareholder Management Bill aims to establish a legal framework in which all parastatals operate and to ensure their boards and executives are held accountable.

But, we have heard calls for it to be fast-tracked before. Five years ago, to be precise. In August 2014, Dipuo Letsatsi-Dubahe, then chairperson of Portfolio Committee on Public Enterprises, called for the Shareholder Management Bill to be sped up.

Democratic Alliance (DA) MP Natasha Mazzone deplored the delays, and said attempts to rid state-owned companies of corruption had been obstructed by appointing director-generals of departments in an acting capacity and replacing them roughly every six months.

“Every time a DG comes in they would last for six months until they have gotten too much information and were posing a threat to state capture… I have to assume this has been done deliberately.”

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