SA's Public Enterprises Minister Lynne Brown met with Eskom's new board chairman Jabu Mabuza on Wednesday. Photo: Supplied by ministry of public enterprises
JOHANNESBURG - The Portfolio Committee on Public Enterprises met with the Minister of Public Enterprises, Lynne Brown and the executives of state-owned companies (SOCs), including chairpersons, chief executive officers (CEOs) and chief financial officers. 

The Committee was briefed on progress made in addressing the governance in SOCs.  The Committee welcomed the appointment of the new board at Eskom. The Committee was of the view that with new board members, the power utility will be able to change things around within the entity.

Chairperson for the Committee, Lungi Mnganga-Gcabashe, said the Committee will on Thursday have an oversight wherein the new board at Eskom will meet with the Committee.

Regarding Denel, the Committee raised concern about the wrong audit opinion that Denel reported. 

Members of the Committee said according to a report that was given by the Auditor General, Denel printed an incorrect version of the 2015/16 financial statement and that was presented to stakeholders. The Committee wanted to know what the department is doing to rectify the problem.

Answering and clarifying the issue of the incorrect financial statement and audit opinion, Denel said the report was not incorrect but there were issues that were not highlighted by the auditors.

Responding to questions, Minister Brown said South African Express (SAX) is in a huge crisis. She said SAX should not lease aircraft but purchase 50-seater aircraft, the airline is however unable to afford to purchase new aircrafts. However, she said since the appointment of an Acting CE the company is looking better. Minister Brown said the secondment of the department’s Deputy Director General of Legal and Governance to the Acting position of CE will strengthen SAX.

The Committee said the acting chief executive (CE) should look into implementing a SAX turnaround strategy that was presented last year before the Committee. The Committee implored on the department that it needs to step in as a stakeholder on the issue of municipal debt as this has been an issue that has been ongoing for a long time.

Mnganga-Gcabashe raised concern about SOCs that are constantly in the news for the wrong reasons and the reports published are seldom positive. “The media reports are usually not positive and it is about procurement processes and this means that there is no compliance in procurement policy,” she said.

The Committee said the department should look into the recommendations of the Budgetary Review and Recommendations Report (BRRR) and reconsider them.