Certain public enterprises prove why state should not interfere in the economy

2014-07-17
Adv Anton Alberts

South Africa’s state owned enterprises leaves much to be desired and serve as proof that the state should not interfere in the economy, Adv. Anton Alberts, the FF Plus’ parliamentary spokesperson on public enterprises says.

Adv. Alberts said during the budget debate of the department of public enterprises yesterday that there are numerous reasons for the failures of enterprises such as the SAA, Transnet and Eskom.

“Alexkor is proof that the ANC’s idea of establishing and running of a successful mining company is a mere fantasy. Alexkor was not capable to show any profit until its recapitalisation in 2012/2013. The question is whether the profits are sustainable.

“There are also questions surrounding the government’s controlling share in the partnership between Alexkor and the Richtersveld community.

“The land actually belongs to the First Nation and they should therefore have been enabled to appoint a private company which would have mined their rights more effectively. Government should take note of its international obligations with regards to the First Nations in South Africa.

“The importance of Eskom for the country’s economy should ensure that the minister and her department do everything in their power to secure Kusile and Medupi coming online according to its schedule.

“Continued delays have already caused operational delays and played a huge role in the continued de-industrialisation process in South Africa which in turn is undermining the government’s own Industrialisation Plan Action Plans (IPAP’s).

“It is of importance to the country that new power stations are delivered timeously, that Eskom undertakes proper maintenance work on its power-stations and its distribution networks and that the quality and price of coal which is purchased for the power-stations are not solely determined by the BEE-principle.

“The SAA is at present busy with a turn-around strategy, but the fact is that throughout the world national airways are not profitable. The SAA’s operational costs are too high and taxpayers are getting tired of continually bailing out the institution.

“Despite calls for privatisation of the SAA, government does not want to consider it. The answer lies somewhere in the middle, where the SAA is allowed to partially privatise like Telkom did. Private investments and management within a public-private partnership should create the real turn-around.

“The huge challenges facing Transnet should also be thoroughly noted. The reckless management of its two pension funds has now led to the largest class-action in the country’s legal history – a claim of approximately R85 billion against Transnet and the government. The court case will start on Monday.

“If the claim succeeds, Transnet’s credit rating will definitely reach the so-called junk status and it will negatively impact on the government’s credit status.

“It will ruin Transnet’s expansion plans and the FF Plus advises the minister to take proactive steps and to settle on a reasonable basis with the claimants as this case could seriously harm the government,” Adv. Alberts said.

 

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