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Pravin Gordhan: Govt has begun process to recapture SOEs

The Public Enterprises Minister says SA Express being grounded is one of the consequences of corruption and the government is working to root it out.

Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan. Picture: Lindsay Dentlinger/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG/CAPE TOWN - Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan says the government has begun the process of recapturing state-owned entities from the grasp of state capture.

Gordhan revealed on Thursday that embattled airline SA Express paid over R5.7 million to Gupta-linked Trillian Capital without following proper processes.

The South African Civil Aviation Authority (SACAA) announced on Thursday afternoon that it has suspended the carrier’s operating license with immediate effect.

Gordhan says SA Express being grounded is one of the consequences of corruption and the government is working to root it out.

“I can assure the public that we’ll look into this matter, get this airline back to its feet within the next couple of weeks so that it can continue to play an important role. But crucial to this is that those who’ve been involved must face the consequences.”

CASH INJECTION

Gordhan says some SOEs will need a cash injection if they are to continue operating.

This includes SA Express, which on Thursday has had its planes grounded over safety concerns.

Gordhan on Thursday confirmed new boards at key state-owned enterprises, including Transnet, Denel and SA Express.

The Public Enterprises Minister maintains there’s more to lose in shutting the nation’s airlines down and will be focussing on facilitating better synergies between them.

Gordhan is hopeful the new boards he’s appointed has the capacity to turn around the struggling public enterprises.

“If you have the right boards, with the right kind of experience, insights but also the courage and boldness to do the right things, plus an effective management team, many of these entities can pull themselves out the trouble they find themselves in.”

But he says they will need help to get back on track.

“Many of these entities are going to require, let’s call it legitimate cash for operational purposes.”

Discussions are underway with Treasury for operating capital for SA Express, wherein less than a week, Gordhan’s intervention team has already uncovered two dodgy contracts.

(Edited by Zamangwane Shange)

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