If the mandates of the most important state-owned enterprises (SOEs), such as Eskom and the eternally loss-making SAA, were cast in stone in the constitution, much like the SA Reserve Bank’s inflation-targeting mandate, they would be in a far more secure state than they are at present. Without this form of protection, the SOEs have been subject to damaging political interference that landed them at the centre of a new form of state capture that came to the fore towards the end of the Jacob Zuma administration. Governance plans put together by the state in the early 2000s were shelved in favour of an activist type of shareholding as the ANC demanded cadre deployment. That loss of structure and reporting lines has resulted in the governance collapse of today, where the key funders of these institutions aren’t really interested in the plans of the executives leading them so much as the ability of the shareholder to manage its debts. PODCAST: Business Day Spotlight – “Eskom is South Afr...

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