Mark Barnes Columnist

Don’t knock it until you’ve tried it, in a different form, in very different circumstances. Prescribed assets have been given a rough time since the ANC suggested in their manifesto that their reintroduction be investigated. Handled properly, specifically by experts, under a proper mandate, fit-for-purpose prescribed assets may prove a better solution than the alternatives. The composition and extent of the liabilities of state-owned enterprises (SOEs) is clearly inappropriate and not sustainable. The problem has got so big it is not easily soluble within the current system, given the state of our sovereign balance sheet and the prospects for our income statements. Some of the funding has to be spent on the past, and that requires force, it seems. Eskom has been characterised as too big to fail — of course it is, but so is the whole integrated state machinery, obviously, so we have to solve everything — not just to avoid failure, but to invite the prospect of success. Raising capita...

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