File Image: IOL
JOHANNESBURG - Chief executives of state-owned entities (SOEs) this week presented President Cyril Ramaphosa with ambitious proposals to reignite the South African economy.

The business leaders, led by Telkom chief executive Sipho Maseko, said that the plans were aimed at rekindling manufacturing, meaningful employment in the crucial agriculture sector and the development of logistics systems to accelerate economic growth, among others.

Telkom spokesperson Nomalungelo Faku yesterday said the State-Owned Companies' Chief Executive Forum presented four broad areas of focus: economic recovery, governance, state-owned company reform and transformation.

“There is agreement on the establishment of a working group to expand on these themes,” said Faku. Their proposals were focused on governance and transformation issues at parastatals.

Ramaphosa’s spokesperson, Khusela Diko, said the Tuesday meeting was the first in a series that he would have.

The chief executives of Telkom, Eskom, Airports Company SA, Transnet, the Public Investment Corporation, the Industrial Development Corporation, the Land Bank, the Development Bank of SA and the embattled SA Airways attended the meeting.

The chief executives further committed to scale parastatals to ensure they contributed to economic growth through improved governance, economic recovery, and SOE reform and transformation.

Allegations

SOEs in the country have been plagued by allegations of corruption, mismanagement and rampant looting.

The ongoing parliamentary inquiry of the portfolio committee on public enterprises is looking at instances of governance failure at parastatals such as Eskom and Transnet.

Diko said Ramaphosa welcomed the chief executives' commitment to reposition SOEs as enablers of growth, driven by a common vision and higher levels of co-operation and synergy.

Ramaphosa stressed during his State of the Nation Address that the government would take further measures to ensure that SOEs fulfilled their economic and developmental mandates.

He admitted that some had structural challenges, charging that they would review their funding model, and change the way boards were appointed, so that only those with expertise, experience and integrity served on them.

Ramaphosa also said they would remove board members from procurement roles and would work with Auditor-General Kimi Makwetu to strengthen external audit processes.

- BUSINESS REPORT