Irvin Jim, general secretary of Numsa File picture: Gcina Ndwalane/ANA Pictures

Johannesburg - The current boards of all state-owned enterprises (SOEs) must be "scrapped and democratised", the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (Numsa) said on Sunday.   

Workers and their families were suffering from the impact of corruption at various SOEs, including Eskom, South African Airways (SAA), the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (Prasa), the Road Accident Fund (RAF), and PetroSA, among others, Numsa acting spokesman Phakamile Hlubi said.

"That is why we are demanding that the boards of all SOEs must be scrapped and democratised. The corruption at Eskom pre-dates the arrival of the Gupta family. It is a sign of the extent of the corruption in the governing party [African National Congress] which is willing to sell off national assets to the highest bidder," he said.

"Therefore we cannot trust the governing party to appoint board members who will act in the interests of the public. It is clear that the role of the board is to ease the looting of state coffers for politically connected individuals."

Numsa therefore demanded that the boards of all SoEs be made up of trade union representatives, business, and government officials. This is the only way to guarantee transparency, good governance, and accountability.

"Furthermore, Eskom should not be chasing profits. It must change its mandate from profit seeking to being operationally self-sufficient. Its focus should be to provide free electricity for the working class poor and their families who need it the most," Hlubi said.