ANC president Cyril Ramaphosa said the party had agreed to look at rationalising and consolidating the country's more than 740 SOEs. File picture: Elmond Jiyane/GCIS

Durban - African National Congress (ANC) president Cyril Ramaphosa said on Monday that the party had agreed to look at rationalising and consolidating the country's more than 740 state-owned enterprises (SOEs).

He said the governing party and its alliance partners, such as the South African Communist Party, had agreed to take a pragmatic view of the country’s SOEs by divesting in some and investing in others. 

Ramaphosa was delivering the closing address at the ANC National Executive Committee (NEC) lekgotla at St. Georges Hotel in Irene, Tshwane.

Without going into specifics, he said the ANC would be guided by its policy document - Ready to Govern - which stated that the “balance of evidence should continue to guide our structuring and restructuring and whether to increase or reduce public ownership in order to advance our economic programme”.

“We must examine the institutional design that should continue to support SOEs and their developmental mandates and there should be greater and more effective attention of operational efficiency, integrity and functionality of our SOEs, and ensuring that people who are fit for purpose are appointed to various positions,” said Ramaphosa.

The commercial and developmental mandates of SOEs should be clearly outlined, he said, “so there is never any mistake on what their mandate should be”.

The ANC should also “avoid political interference in operational matters in our SOEs”, he said, adding that if there should be any, “it must be for strategic matters and where there is mismanagement and a clear company failure”.

“We should look at embarking on a consolidation process of our SOES. We took the view that there is a plethora of SOEs – more than 740. We need to look at whether we should consolidate some or rationalise some and this is a process that will get underway,”  said Ramaphosa.

The statement comes as the government failed to bail out the South African Airways to the tune of R2-billion, as was promised, after it was placed under business rescue last year. On Sunday night, the department of public enterprises said that government was committed to assisting the national carrier. 

It is understood that unless the bailout is received before January 19, SAA will need to suspend certain flights.

African News Agency (ANA)