Finance Minister Nhlanhla Nene's unfortunate incident at the SABC many years ago was resurrected this week in a cartoon published in Business Times's sister publication Business Day. It will be a decade in October since Nene - then an ordinary ANC MP - fell off his chair during that embarrassing interview. In the cartoon Nene, now the fourth finance minister in two years, is again perched apprehensively on a multilegged stool that treacherously seems about to crack. The satirical effect of the cartoon is powerful.In effect Nene again finds himself on a faulty seat - the South African economy resting on four cracked legs: Eskom, Transnet, Denel and SAA. These massive state-owned enterprises are crucial to keeping the wheels of the economy turning. Yet all four find themselves at various points on the spectrum of dysfunction. Civil society has often called for the privatisation of SOEs. Trade union Solidarity is forging ahead ambitiously with an application to have SAA placed in busin...

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