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South Africa: Public Enterprises Portfolio Committee welcomes news on South Africa Expess Flying Again Soon

Parliament's Portfolio Committee on Public Enterprises welcomes the announcement today that SA Express will resume flights as soon as next week.

Committee Chairperson, Ms Lungi Mnganga-Gcabashe, said this undertaking was given today by Minister Pravin Gordhan during a briefing to update the committee on addressing governance challenges at state-owned companies (SOCs). "This is exciting news, specifically in light of the comment made by the Minister, that certain individuals have given their expertise, either personally or through the industry, to assist in ensuring that SA Express is given its flying licence again."

The committee said those individuals involved in irregular contracts or underhand dealings at the airline, should not escape investigation.

The committee also heard that the benefits that executives are entitled to at the institutions are being assessed, as that they must be done in a transparent manner.Minister Gordhan said the benefits being given, short- and long-term – are concerning whilst the ordinary workers suffer.

The committee heard that the overall picture at SOCs is that they have a revenue of R284 billion, assets of R1.1 trillion and are at a profit/loss of R1.6 billion. The committee was informed that at Eskom, 10 senior executives who were implicated in wrongdoings have exited the entity before disciplinary hearings could be finalised. A total of 11 criminal cases were opened, of which nine involved senior managers. A total of 1049 outstanding disciplinary cases have been instituted since April 2018, of which 628 have been finalised, resulting in 75 employees exiting.

The committee would like to get clarity on why the auditing firms that were involved were unable to pick up irregular expenses early on, and huge amounts are only being discovered now.

The economic and developmental role of SOCs also came under the spotlight. The committee was made aware that localisation was set aside and things were imported. The committee heard that manufacturing and localisation must be promoted.

The committee was given assurances as most boards are new, having been appointed this year, it is tasked with looking at the huge remuneration costs. Guidelines to this effect exist but are not being implemented and bonuses are demanded at times when it is not warranted to give out bonuses.

Ms Mnganga-Gcabashe said: "The achievements at all entities thus far give us hope for the future. It gives us the assurance that there is light at the end of the tunnel. We will certainly monitor the progress of SOCs to ensure that we remain on track."

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of Republic of South Africa: The Parliament.
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