Gordhan leaves behind a trail of destruction in the SOE sector

Issued by Dr Mimmy Gondwe MP – DA Shadow Minister of Public Enterprises
08 Mar 2024 in News

The announcement by the Minister of Public Enterprises, Pravin Gordhan, that he will be resigning from government at the end of the current administration caps a disastrous tenure that has left behind a trail of destruction in the State Owned Enterprises (SOE) sector.

Gordhan squandered the public goodwill that he had at the beginning of his tenure as the Minister of Public Enterprises by choosing to pander to the ANC and, in the process, failed to clean up the mess created by the criminal state capture project. Perhaps a serious indictment to his legacy is that he has left many SOEs in a much worse shape than he found them, with some on the verge of collapse.

When former Eskom CEO, Andre de Ruyter, exposed the existence of deep-seated corruption at Eskom perpetuated by a labyrinth of politically connected criminal networks and costing the entity R1 billion a month, Gordhan decided to close ranks with his ANC comrades. He chose to victimise de Ruyter rather than ask law enforcement agencies to investigate the merits of the corruption allegations.

Gordhan stood idly by as Eskom lurched from one crisis to another. Since his appointment to the Public Enterprises portfolio, South Africans have spent more days in the dark than at any other time since the crisis began 17 years ago. By failing to decisively deal with the load-shedding crisis, Gordhan should shoulder part of the blame for South Africa’s struggling economy, loss of jobs, closure of businesses, and attendant decline in private sector investment.

Currently, he has triggered an unprecedented attack on parliamentary transparency and accountability. He has stubbornly refused to publicly disclose the SAA/Takatso Share Sale and Purchase Agreement documents, citing legally questionable third party confidentiality. Gordhan has gone to extreme lengths to try and co-opt Parliament into his long drawn out plan to maintain a veil of secrecy on the SAA/Takatso deal.

Under Gordhan’s tenure, SOEs have become chronically dependent on taxpayer funded state bailouts to remain in businesses. Of the R331 billion that has been spent on SOE bailouts since the 2013/2014 financially, R213 billion has been spent from 2018 when he was appointed Minister of Public Enterprises. Despite these multi billion rand bailouts, Gordhan himself confirmed that taxpayers have only been able to realise R1 million in dividends.

For a man who positioned himself as a crusader against state capture, his continued to deference to the ANC’s regressive policy of cadre deployment exposes his insincerity in the fight against corruption. Gordhan proactively worked together with the ANC’s cadre deployment committee to interfere with board appointments at Transnet, Denel, SAA and SAFCOL.

Gordhan has himself to blame for choosing to be an ANC lackey rather than a principled public servant for the greater good. South Africans should vote in their millions on 29 May to send the rest of his comrades packing from government. The DA is the only party big enough and with the institutional capacity to rescue South Africa and get our country working again.