#Sona2019: Presidential SOE Council will help failing state-owned entities

Proper governance must be restored at Eskom, Denel, Transnet, and other SOEs, said the president. And this is how he’s doing it.

FILE: A view inside the Prasa repair depot on 28 May 2018, where trains are fixed, renovated and parts are shipped off for off-site repairs. Picture: Thomas Holder/EWN

CAPE TOWN - President Cyril Ramaphosa has emphasised the need for state-owned enterprises (SOEs) to be self-reliant.

During his State of the Nation Address, Ramaphosa acknowledged that SOEs were suffering, saying progress was being made to restore their integrity and capacity.

Ramaphosa added that proper governance at SOEs was a priority. He said new “credible boards” and ethical directors with proper corporate governance was in place at Eskom, Denel, Transnet, the South African Forestry Company Limited, the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa and SA Express.

The president also said selling off assets was not out of the question.

"Where SOEs are not able to raise sufficient financing from banks, from capital markets, from development finance institutions or from the fiscus, we will need to explore other mechanisms, such as strategic equity partnerships or selling off non-strategic assets," he said.

But the president was careful to highlight that SOEs that he would not "dispose of assets of the state that are strategic to the wellbeing of the economy and the people".

Ramaphosa said plans from boards to ensure long-term sustainability. He added that workers, the private sector and government would come together to keep the SOEs stable.

"We also seek to build a pragmatic and cooperative relationship between government, organised labour and private sector stakeholders, where we can jointly determine a strategic path for SOEs to create jobs, enable inclusive growth and become operationally and financially sustainable," he said.

READ: President Ramaphosa’s Sona 2019 full speech

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