Pravin Gordhan. Picture: GCIS
Pravin Gordhan. Picture: GCIS

It would take five to 10 years for SA to recover from the disaster brought about by corruption and state capture, former finance minister Pravin Gordhan said on Wednesday.

Leaked Gupta e-mails have in the past month revealed a pattern of state capture and corruption in strategic state-owned entities and departments.

Addressing a seminar on state capture, white monopoly capital and radical economic transformation at the University of Johannesburg, Gordhan said there was a picture that could be drawn about the systematic approach of state capture and the stealing of state resources.

He said state-owned enterprises (SOEs) changed their boards and put in the right people, changed the CEO and put in the right person but still excused aspects of state capture. "We saw them the other day trying to defend themselves at Eskom."

He said there needed to be inquiries in the next big tenders with procurement becoming the main avenue for capture.

"You take an asset and you reduce its value ... now it’s cheap enough for someone to buy," he said in reference to Eskom chief financial officer Anoj Singh being linked to Gupta deals worth billions.

"A person holding a very senior position in a state-owned enterprise is admitting that yes they gave them a guarantee. Who gave you permission to give the guarantee is what you have to ask."

He said that state capture had done serious damage to SA.

This comes as Parliament started its preparations for a full inquiry into Eskom and its alleged deals linked to state capture on Tuesday.

Addressing the same function, Gordhan’s former deputy, Mcebisi Jonas, said: "We are increasingly becoming known as a capital of corruption and state capture. SOEs are centres for money racketeering if nothing else. It’s a real challenge that we have to deal with, what we lose through state capture and corruption is billions."

He said that state capture meant "we sell the country and undermine the sovereignty of organisations in the country".

Jonas also addressed the recent calls for the Reserve Bank to be state owned.

"Nothing is fundamentally wrong with a state owning a bank or not owning a bank. But in a context where you can’t manage your SOEs, how will you manage a bank?

"There is high dysfunctionality in our SOEs, yet you want to add on them the most sensitive kind of institution that can be created. Maybe when you’ve dealt with the weaknesses and shown that you are capable of managing them, you can call for a state-owned bank," he said.

 

menons@businesslive.co.za

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