Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan on Wednesday said he was not resigning until he finished his term despite some of the failures in his portfolio.
“I am not going anywhere until the end of this term. I accepted responsibility and that is why there are changes in the board (of SOES) where appropriate. We act when it is necessary,” Gordhan said.
He was responding to DA MP Farhat Essack during the oral question session in the National Assembly on whether he has taken any steps to investigate the circumstances that led to black executives leaving state-owned enterprises without completing their terms.
Essack suggested in his follow-up question that the resignations were indicative of political meddling, failure of broad-based BEE and shockingly poor governance under Gordhan’s watch.
He said it was time for the minister to “step down and leave”.
Gordhan said Essack was launching a DA election campaign.
“We welcome the launch and we will take you on the field at the appropriate time. Just to remind you, you belong to a 20% party and you will never go above that either, that’s why you are looking for moon shots and so on,” he said.
Gordhan went on to state that the question from Essack was politically loaded and it was bound to get a politically loaded answer.
“I can guarantee you that I don’t have time for meddling. I don’t have a spanner or anything else in my office to go around to fix power stations or things like that.”
Gordhan said if he were to have a cup of tea with Essack, he would explain to him the damage caused by state capture to SOEs and would be interested in what he would do to the institutions if he was in the shoes of the CEOs, board chairpersons and board members.
“It will take a long time to fix.
These are broken institutions but we will fix them,” he said.
“We have laid the platform and I am confident things are to improve from this point onwards. Where there are lapses, we are to act against people responsible for the lapses.”
Gordhan told the MPs that they have looked at the various matters affecting the SOEs falling under his department.
“But what is critical to understand is that there are different parties involved in the SOES,” he said, before explaining the role of the shareholder, the board and the executive management.
Gordhan said where there was non-performance, the board should take appropriate action.
“I tasked the various boards to develop and execute turnaround plans or recovery plans to drastically improve performance in their respective areas.”
He insisted that the failures at the SOEs were not a matter of race.
“It is about performance and delivery.”
Gordhan also said the boards have given assurances that they will do everything possible to implement the recovery plans.
However, chaos reigned in the House when an MP from the EFF accused him of having an “anti-black people agenda” and hiring only white people.
Points of order were raised by the ANC, with the EFF saying Gordhan was being protected, a drama that led to some of the red berets being removed from the platform.