Discussions of governance at the state-owned enterprises (SOEs) often focus narrowly on ending corruption. Chasing corrupt individuals is obviously necessary, but the SOEs need much deeper systemic change. Corruption is just part of a broader governance failure arising from complicated, secretive and defensive oversight structures; the use of boards of directors for patronage; and mandates that are vague, uncosted, and underresourced. The SOEs have formed the backbone of SA’s electricity, freight and commuter rail and communications systems. In 2017, 16 SOEs provided key infrastructure or goods. Together they reported R1.6 trillion in assets and about 176,000 employees. Eskom, the SA National Roads Agency (Sanral) and Transnet alone managed assets worth R1.4 trillion and had 106,000 employees. Until the commodity boom ended abruptly in 2011, broad prosperity papered over problems at the SOEs, but they became obvious as slower growth set in. Sanral, SAA, the Post Office, Broadband In...

BL Premium

This article is reserved for our subscribers.

A subscription helps you enjoy the best of our business content every day along with benefits such as exclusive Financial Times articles, Morningstar financial data, and digital access to the Sunday Times and Times Select.

Already subscribed? Simply sign in below.



Questions or problems? Email helpdesk@businesslive.co.za or call 0860 52 52 00.