We will avoid political interference at SOEs, Cyril Ramaphosa says
‘We all agreed that we will all speak and communicate one message with the many voices we have here’
President Cyril Ramaphosa delivered a frank assessment of the ANC’s policy failings on Monday, saying the ruling party had acknowledged these and revised measures to be more realistic to address the shortcomings of implementation.
Speaking at the closing of the party’s two-day lekgotla, Ramaphosa said there was a commitment by all to work harder to address the challenges facing SA and to communicate policies clearly and coherently.
“We all agreed that we will all speak and communicate one message with the many voices we have here,” he said.
Ahead of the lekgotla Ramaphosa had faced growing pressure to remove public enterprises minister Pravin Gordhan over his handling of the crisis at ailing power utility Eskom.
This followed a comment by Deputy President David Mabuza last week that he believed Ramaphosa had been misled when he was told that there would be no load-shedding before January 13.
It also prompted calls for Eskom to be moved from the public enterprises department to the energy department under minister Gwede Mantashe.
Ramaphosa outlined some of the resolutions taken at the lekgotla in his closing remarks.
He said the party had discussed how it should foster economic growth and deal with state-owned entities (SOEs). The commercial and developmental mandates of SOEs should be clearly outlined and communicated, and reviews should be done where necessary.
“The ANC will continue to be guided by the vision outlined in the policy document adopted called ‘Ready to Govern’, which stated that the balance of evidence should continue to guide our structuring and restructuring of SOEs and our decisions on when we need to increase or reduce public ownership in order to advance the economic environment,” Ramaphosa said.
The ANC would also examine the institutional design that should continue to support SOEs and support developmental mandates. Ramaphosa said there would be greater operational efficiency and they would ensure people fit for purpose were placed at state entities.
“We should avoid political interference in operational matters of our SOEs and, if there is to be any, it should be on strategic matters, and also where there is mismanagement and a clear company failure,” Ramaphosa said.
He said the country had more than 740 SOEs and the ANC government would start consolidating them.
Ramaphosa did not give any specific details on Eskom or cash-strapped state airline SAA, which is in business rescue.