The current public conversations about the role of state-owned enterprises (SOEs) in the South African economy are welcome and will, hopefully, provide greater clarity about their public mandates and governance structures. There is, however, a proviso. Such discussions should be based on facts and remain rooted in an understanding of why such enterprises were established in the first place and what the true state of their current business is. SOEs have become soft targets for columnists, commentators and social media activists. The lazy approach is to bunch them all together into one category and then to throw buckets of mud, hoping that some would stick. "Corruption" is being used as a catch-all label for all public-sector agencies whether proof of maladministration exists, or not. Similarly, it has become an easy narrative to simply refer to them as "ailing state companies". Unfortunately, columnist Neva Makgetla contributes to this slapdash style of analysis by simply adding the ...

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