File picture: Siphiwe Sibeko/Reuters.

DURBAN - The IFP said on Wednesday that the Auditor-General's 2018/2019 financial year report was sufficient grounds to reopen the debate on the partial privatisation of state owned entities (SOE). 

"The release today of the AG's 2018/19 financial year report and the sobering pronouncements made on the financial state and behaviour of officials at all our SOEs, including the financial results of all national and provincial government departments, is reason enough to kick-start the process of selling off what we cannot afford," said the party's finance and public enterprises spokesperson Mzamo Buthelezi. 

The country's SOEs had drained the state coffers and continued to abuse resources that could be better spent in delivering "dignified, quality, effective and efficient services to all South Africans," said Buthelezi.

He said it was "unfathomable" that the country was "bleeding billions against the already austere and grim backdrop of sluggish economic growth and the ever increasing debt-to-GDP bill".

It was unacceptable to continue year after year condemning financial year-end results and then thinking it was "okay" to condone gross neglect and the rot of corruption, he said. 

"In striving for excellence, we must shake-off the culture of mediocrity we have accepted from government, SOEs and private companies."

Some of the key findings in Makwetu's report included that only 26% of auditees produced quality financial statements and performance reports in compliance with legislation, and that unauthorised expenditure was sitting at R1.365 billion, while irregular expenditure had increased to R62.60 billion from last year's R51 billion. 

African News Agency (ANA)