Aprerequisite for returning ailing state-owned enterprises (SOEs) to good health is to transform their corrupt, inefficient and unaccountable business models into ethical ones. Out-of-control corruption, inefficiency and poor balance sheets have stunted economic growth, undermined confidence in the economy and diverted funds away from essential public services. The first task in building an ethics-based business model for SOEs is to reform their organisational culture, which is characterised by corruption, inefficiency and incompetence. The organisational culture of SOEs is largely influenced by the tone set by the governing executives of a country, especially the president. Capturing SOEs for self-enrichment, patronage appointments and asset stripping became the norm under the Jacob Zuma presidency. A new ethical organisational culture will have to be set in the national government that was absent during the Zuma presidency. President Cyril Ramaphosa will have to provide the lead i...

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