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Eskom, Denel, the SABC, SAA — state-owned enterprises (SOEs) have made headlines repeatedly in the previous years, with few South Africans seeing much light at the end of the proverbial tunnel — or any light at all really, thanks to scheduled load-shedding. Arguably, however, there are reasons to be optimistic. The period before the elections provides the ideal time for good governance to start to turn various dire SOE situations around, and we are already seeing evidence of this. Think of why the auditor-general requested greater powers to deal with the reluctance of many SOEs to rectify the recommendations of the auditor-general. These include irregular and unjustified spending eroding the budgets of SOEs and SOCs. With irregular spending hitting the R51bn mark, auditor-general Kimi Makwetu is putting clear principles behind processes to curb the “flow’” with President Cyril Ramaphosa’s backing. The signing of these new law amendments to the Public Audit Act shows a shift: the fo...

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