South Africa: Government At Odds With Civil Society Over New SOE Law


To arrest the dysfunction of state-owned entities, the Department of Public Enterprises is pushing to strengthen the government's role as shareholder, regulator and policymaker. Civil society, however, is hoping instead for decentralisation of power and more input from the public.

Despite public pressure for urgency in addressing problems in state-owned entities (SOEs), there is still a long road ahead for government's law meant to regulate these entities, if the Department of Public Enterprises' Annual Performance Plan (APP) is anything to go by.

The plan envisages that the Shareholder Management Bill, which will govern all SOEs, will be adopted into law only by the 2020/21 financial year.

Since 2013, when the Presidential Review Commission recommended one overarching law to govern SOEs, and later in the 2016/17 financial year, when Cabinet approved a draft concept paper on the Shareholder Policy to inform such a law, the rot in state-owned entities has been exposed on various fronts - most notably at the Zondo Commission of Inquiry into State Capture.

Deputy Minister of Public Enterprises Phumulo Masualle, however, told MPs in Parliament last week it may be time to "up the pace" in respect of the bill...

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