Gordhan has become a national and economic liability – here are 5 reasons why he must be fired

Issued by Ghaleb Cachalia MP – DA Shadow Minister of Public Enterprises
12 Oct 2023 in News

Given the devastating report card by the Auditor General (A-G) on the financial performance of the Department of Public Enterprises (DPE) and the entities that report to it – Minister Pravin Gordhan’s resignation letter should have been on President Cyril Ramaphosa’s desk this morning.

Gordhan has literally collapsed the finances the DPE after the A-G gave the Department a qualified audit outcome with findings. He has extended and mirrored this failure to Sate Owned Enterprises (SOEs) reporting to him, with 5 of the 7 seven that reporting to him still not having finalized their financial statements six months after the close of the financial year.

The only reason Ramaphosa still keeps Gordhan in his Cabinet is for political expediency to insulate himself against the faction-riddled ANC. If Ramaphosa was committed to acting in the national interest, here are 5 reasons why he should act to fire Gordhan with immediate network:

  1. Breaking the backbone of the South African economy – The rapid decline of Transnet under Gordhan has seen the amount of goods transported by the freight rail system, in the last 5 years, plunge from 150 million tons to 226 million tons. Transnet’s collapse is estimated to be costing the country R1 billion a day in economic output, equivalent to 4.9% of annual GDP or R353 billion.
  2. Plunging SOEs into a governance crisis – Since his appointment to the Public Enterprises portfolio in 2018, Gordhan has presided over an unprecedented governance chaos at Executive and Board level in SOEs. 2 SOEs have no CEOs, 3 have acting CEOs and some are either operating under interim boards or have unfilled board vacancies.
  3. Condoning corruption and mafia capture of Eskom – With criminal syndicates and corruption at Eskom partly to blame for loadshedding, Gordhan outright dismissed allegations that criminal cartels active in Eskom’s coal-supply chain have connections with high-ranking politicians.
  4. Selling SAA on the cheap – According to the AG, the SAA transaction was problematic. The due diligence performed on preferred partner Takatso was poor. The AG called for the valuation of SAA’s assets to be redone.
  5. Failure to open the SOE sector to private participation – The slow pace of opening up the SOE sector to private participation has been a drag on the national economy and has negatively impacted South Africa’s economic competitiveness.

Under Gordhan’s watch, South Africa’s has missed out the commodities boom due to Transnet freight rail challenges. This has robbed the national economy of billions of rand in potential income and robbed the fiscus of the much needed export tax receipts. Gordhan has become a national and economic liability and should be fired immediately.

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