Minister of Public Enterprises Pravin Gordhan believes the State Enterprises Bill will strengthen the functioning of State-Owned Entities and improve their efficiencies.
Cabinet last December approved the bill and it has been sent to Parliament for processing.
The bill calls for the establishment of a state-owned holding company for some of the SOEs.
Gordhan said they were taking a number of measures to fix some of the ailing SOEs.
Transnet, Denel and Eskom have in the past few years been mired in serious financial and operational challenges, which had had an impact on the economy.
Unions have been warning about job cuts in the mining sector because of challenges in the rail network. The volumes of cargo transported by rail has declined in the last five years because of damage to the rail network.
The ports of Durban and Richards Bay were faced with massive backlogs threatening the economy. President Cyril Ramaphosa visited the two ports late last year where he called for the problems to be resolved by early this year.
Eskom’s challenges of load shedding are not close to being resolved, despite promises by various ministers.
Gordhan said they were working to improve the efficiencies of SOEs.
He said they were also reversing the damage caused by state capture a few years ago. He said during state capture, many skilled people left these entities.
Gordhan said they were also making changes to the boards and management of SOEs.
They were implementing the recommendations of the Presidential SOE Council in fixing the parastatals.
“This also involves new initiatives by the President and Cabinet. The presidential SOE council is one such example. The presidential SOE Council recommended that the centralised model be adopted to oversee the SOEs with development of the National Enterprises Bill and formation of the State-Owned Holding Company.
“On this basis, the department then developed the National State Enterprises Bill. The bill was published on September 15, 2023 for public comment, and the public comment period ended on October 14, 2023. The bill incorporates the Presidential SOE Council’s recommendation to adopt a centralised shareholder model to improve the management and oversight of South African SOEs,” said Gordhan, who was replying to a written parliamentary question from IFP MP Inkosi Mzamo Buthelezi.
He said they will fight corruption in state-owned entities.
Gordhan also said SOEs must not rely on government for bailouts.
The State has spent billions of rands in the past decade on the bailouts of SOEs.
Gordhan, who was replying to another written parliamentary question from Buthelezi, said the Presidential SOE Council was established in 2020 to revitalise SOEs.
They want SOEs to be financially sustainable and improve their operations.