'State-owned enterprises neglect SA consumers'

ANC MP Ben Turok says consumers are being neglected by state-owned enterprises.

State-owned company Eskom. Picture: Taurai Maduna/EWN

CAPE TOWN - An African National Congress (ANC) Member of Parliament (MP) on Monday said South African consumers are being neglected by state-owned enterprises.

Ben Turok was speaking at a panel discussion by the South African Institute of International Affairs (SAIIA) in Cape Town.

The debate looked at the role of state-owned enterprises, specifically in the mining industry, both locally and abroad.

Turok said state-owned enterprises are not being clear about their roles in South Africa.

He said these companies must ask whether they are only assisting the private sector or the general public.

Turok added he is tired of hearing about the annual turnover and gender equality reports in Parliament.

He said MPs should be getting feedback on efficiency and what these corporations are doing for the consumer.

The MP said state-owned enterprises need to be driven by clear developmental goals.

Other members of the panel, who were either researchers or part of the private mining industry, said state-owned companies should be transparent.

Many agreed with Turok's views that parastatals need to pursue non-profit goals.

Power utility Eskom recently came under fire during the National Energy Regulator of South Africa (Nersa)'s public hearings on tariff hikes.

The parastatal is asking for a 16 percent price increase every year, for the next five years.

But many experts fear the hikes will have a negative impact on business, the mining sector and ordinary consumers.

Nersa is in the process of considering all the submissions and will make an announcement on the hikes by February 28.