Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan said today the new political dispensation and the reversal of the “bad things” which led to the capture of key state institutions by private interests will be regularly opposed by the beneficiaries of the corruption.
“I think we all know now that we can’t talk about allegations of state capture, corruption and so on … those are facts of life in South Africa. Any number or pieces of evidence are now available to the South African public that [show] various attempts have been made, in the past decade or less, to take control of various parts of government – not to serve the people but private interests and to pilfer money,” Gordhan said in Pretoria.
The outspoken former finance minister who was sacked by then president Jacob Zuma from Cabinet, said the new dispensation ushered by the rise of President Cyril Ramaphosa has given South Africans hope and kindled unparalleled expectations.
“We now have a government in place, by and large, which will ensure that we reverse state capture, that we recapture the state and these [state-owned] institutions so that they actually work for the South African public, and the workers that are employed,” said Gordhan.
“There is this new atmosphere of hope and optimism, but with hope and optimism comes greater expectations as well. Expectations that you can click your fingers and solve all these problems. One of the things we are learning is that these sorts of changes, where we want to reverse the bad things that have happened in our country, won’t happen easily.
“There will be many who have benefitted from that system who will fight back in their own way. They will resist the rolling back of state capture.”
He said the current efforts to implement the rule of law and the constitution will be sabotaged.
Gordhan was addressing the Federation of Unions of South Africa’s (Fedusa) leadership session aimed at sharing economic strategies. The Fedusa annual Leadership and Collective Bargaining Conference was hosted at Roodevallei, east of Pretoria, under the theme “Ethical Governance to Stimulate Inclusive Economic Growth and Decent Jobs”.
Regarding state-owned enterprises, Gordhan said the public institutions will have to be re-invigorated so that they are pulled from the perennial financial quagmires they have operated under.
“We will get to the bottom of where the difficulties are. We will not hide anything from ourselves and the public over time. All we ask is that the leadership and the staff of each of these public institutions keep asking themselves the question: ‘why am I here?’
“If we get that clear, then the rest is easier to organise. If they say I’m here to make [someone] richer, then that’s a very different purpose.”
Gordhan said “sooner rather than later” proposals will be made to government regarding the changes which must be implemented at state-owned entities, to get them on the right track.