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Gordhan’s reign of terror at SOEs?

According to TimesLIVE, the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) are accusing Pravin Gordhan of waging a reign of terror at our State Owned Enterprises (SOEs).

He’s apparently engaging in such intimidating acts as showing up unannounced, and giving board members verbal warnings that he can instantly remove them.

My take

This sounds like an awfully good idea of Gordhan’s. I mean, our SOEs, are well known for being a total mess.

SAA recently had its budget operation, SA Express, pulled out of the sky due to poor maintanance leaving 21 planes not airworthy, Transnet has just had to disband its  Acquisition and Disposal Committee after three years of allegations of corruption, maladministration and mismanagement, and issues at Eskom are more or less at the root of why our economy isn’t growing.

If we cannot run our factories because there isn’t the power capacity to do so, well people are going to lose their jobs. According to Fin24,  the Big Mac index values the rand at just under R6 to the dollar, which means we should be massively expanding our manufacturing to take advantage of how undervalued our currency is.

We can’t do that though without the assurance that our national grid can take it.

So far as I can see, what the EFF is complaining about here – is exactly what I’d like to see Gordhan doing. I am not generally a fan of working at a place with an atmosphere of fear, where people keep quiet about what’s going wrong because they don’t want to stick their heads above the parapet, but there are limits.

And I think we’ve all reached those limits with how our SOEs have been treated over the past two decades. What the EFF sees as intimidation, I see as Gordhan actually trying, I can’t fault him for that.

  • Picture of Minister Pravin Gordhan, by DoC via Flickr.
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