CAPE TOWN– South African Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan says his department will work with State-owned enterprises (SOEs) on their integrity and stability to will help restore confidence and contribute to the country’s economic development.

He said this when briefing the media Tuesday ahead of tabling the department’s Budget Vote at the National Assembly here. Earlier, he had announcing the formation of a new interim Board for Transnet, he State-owned, ports, rail and pipeline company, chaired by Popo Molefe, a former premier of North West Province.

Our endeavour, in line with what the President said in his State of the Nation Address (SONA), is to ensure that in the first instance, we would like to recapture the institutions and what does recapture mean?,” said Gordhan.

It means getting the governance right in each of the six institutions that we are responsible for and that means reviewing all the boards, the kind of record that they have had over a period of time, the diligence with which they have applied themselves to tackling the misdemeanors and malfeasance that have happened to those entities and whether they have been effective in stopping State capture and interrupting its flow.”

Gordhan recalled that in his SONA 2018, the President said SOEs are important in economic development and that it was important to restore their financial stability and entrench a culture of good governance and added that the President assured the nation that the government will root out corruption.

The President, Gordhan added, also said that some of the challenges of SOEs are structural and that business models of the SOEs, as well as their funding models, need to be looked at. SOEs needed to fulfil their economic and developmental mandate. There was also a need to appoint people with the requisite skills and integrity to the boards of these institutions.

Gordhan said for the last 50 odd days since his appointment to the portfolio, what has been the approach was first to recognize that the department was dealing with entities with very powerful budgets amounting to tens of billions of Rand and the impact they have on the lives of people.

He said the SOEs had the potential to contribute positively to the economy and to promote inclusive growth, investment in the economy, job creation and support small and medium enterprises (SMEs), among others.

There was also a need to review all the boards, tackle misdemeanors and ask boards to look very carefully at the record of senior managers on what they have been doing over the years.

Gordhan said another area of focus would be to look at technical capacity and entrench a culture of accountability. He said boards and senior managers needed to understand that SOEs are public institutions and are required to work in the public interest.

Gordhan also said that boards and management needed to look at whether there are adequate controls and checks and balances to ensure that good decisions are being made.

He also said that on financial stability, the department would look at engaging with SOEs and lenders to restore confidence.