Standing Committee on Appropriations keeping close eye on Budget plans for SOEs

For Parliament’s Standing Committee on Appropriations, the financial health of passenger rail agency, Prasa, the Post Office and the Land Bank is of great concern.

Finance Minister Enoch Godongwana delivers his maiden Medium-term Budget Policy Statement in Parliament on 11 November 2021. Picture: GCIS.

CAPE TOWN - Finance Minister Enoch Godongwana’s maiden Budget Speech on Wednesday will be watched for what he says about key state-owned enterprises (SOEs) that are battling for viability.

Eskom’s turnaround is under way, but its debt burden is still enormous - at nearly R400 billion.

For Parliament’s Standing Committee on Appropriations, the financial health of passenger rail agency, Prasa, the Post Office and the Land Bank is of great concern.

These entities provide the means for cheaper transport, for people to get social grants and support for farmers.

Parliament’s Standing Committee on Appropriations was briefed by National Treasury last week on state-owned enterprises. Committee chairperson, Sfiso Buthelezi said that the R7 billion promised by former Finance Minister Tito Mboweni to recapitalise the Land Bank had yet to come through.

"In the report that we got, they’ve not found any resolution to the problems, and as a result, no money has flowed to the bank," Buthelezi said.

He said that the committee was also concerned about the Post Office, which people depend on to collect grants in areas where there were no banks, and the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa's (Prasa) continued inability to spend its capital expenditure budget.

He said that the impact on commuters living far from their workplaces was huge as they paid much higher costs for buses and taxis.

"They are literally working for transport," Buthelezi said.