SA can no longer afford to bail out inefficient and unprofitable state-owned enterprises (SOEs). This much was clear from President Cyril Ramaphosa’s state of the nation address last week and was echoed by the figures in Wednesday’s budget. Although potentially catastrophic for Eskom, it marks an opportunity for much-needed structural reform to lay foundations for robust economic growth for decades to come, starting with the embattled Eskom and extending across the SOEs. In his maiden state of the nation address, Ramaphosa said the severe financial, operational and governance issues experienced in many SOEs had impacted on the performance of the economy and placed pressure on the fiscus. In an environment of weak economic growth, falling government revenue and rising public debt, it is simply not feasible to repeatedly bail out ailing SOEs that should be "organs of growth" for our economy. Continuing problems have threatened Eskom’s sustainability, bringing it to the brink of financ...

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