The Minister of Public Enterprises, Mr. Pravin Gordhan, recently addressed the unfounded claims made by the DA. He believes that these claims are intended to mislead the South African public, gain political advantage, and destabilize the ongoing work to rebuild state-owned enterprises (SOEs). Minister Gordhan emphasizes that neither he nor the department will be deterred from their efforts to stabilize SOEs, enhance their governance, provide them with skilled leadership, and enable them to spearhead the government’s developmental and transformation agenda.
False Claims Against the Auditor General’s Presentation
Gordhan responded to Ghaleb Cachalia, the DA’s spokesman on public enterprises, stating that Cachalia’s allegations regarding the Auditor General’s presentation lack any connection to reality. He asserts that the presentation is a result of extensive and ongoing collaborations aimed at aligning the department’s work with the government’s stated objectives. He adds that the strategic framework has already led to significant improvements in SOE oversight.
Collaborations with Key Stakeholders
The Department of Public Enterprises has been working with the AG, the National Treasury, the Department of Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation, and other key stakeholders to further stabilize SOEs. Their performance and outcomes for the upcoming financial year and beyond have been aligned. The Annual Performance Plan (APP) for 2023/24 already contains key strategic and administrative inputs, including resolving Transnet’s sourcing of outstanding locomotives, improving Eskom’s power generation capacity, and capacitating the boards of SOEs to deliver on their agreed goals.
Political Maneuvering Attempts
Minister Gordhan acknowledges the inevitable political maneuvering attempts leading up to the upcoming elections but remains focused on the department’s work for the benefit of the nation. He notes that 2023/24 marks the end of the current administration, leading to the revision of the medium-term strategic framework (MTSF) to align with the mandate of the new administration. Consequently, government departments will revise their mandates and strategic focus to match the new MTSF, and the Strategic Plan of 2020-2025 will be revised to include evaluating the achievements set in measurable outcomes.
Department’s Determination to Work for Economic Transformation
Despite the lack of support from critics and opportunists like Cachalia, the Department of Public Enterprises remains determined to continue working for the economic transformation of the country. The department is committed to custodial oversight and enhanced accountability, as evidenced by achieving five consecutive years of unqualified audits. By staying focused on their goals and objectives, the Department of Public Enterprises and Minister Gordhan aim to deliver on their promise of economic transformation and improved service delivery for the South African public. Some of the important projects the department is focusing on include the Eskom’s Just Energy Transition and the revitalization of SOEs.