PRETORIA– South African Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan said that efforts to clean up corruption in state-owned companies (SOCs) faced “dangerous” resistance which threatened the country’s sovereignty.
Gordhan, a former finance minister, has been tasked by President Cyril Ramaphosa with cleaning up SOCs such as power utility Eskom, which suffered misgovernance under former president Jacob Zuma.
In an opinion piece in the Sunday Times newspaper, Gordhan said that new boards had started to address “the depth of corruption and criminal behavior that seems to have become endemic in these institutions.”
“But the dangerous and unscrupulous fightback against our reform efforts continues. If we allow this fightback to prevail, we risk losing our sovereignty,” he said, without naming who was behind the backlash.
But in another context Gordhan did specify the Gupta family, a trio of wealthy Indian brothers widely accused of using their friendship with Zuma to siphon state proceeds or win contracts for their companies – allegations they and Zuma have consistently denied.
Referring to state-run logistics and railway group Transnet, Gordhan said academics, which it did not identify, had found that at least 37 billion rand ($2.5 billion) was allocated by the company “toward tainted deals for the period 2012 to 2017.”
“Of this, about 7.7 billion rand appears to have been paid illicitly in various forms to a number of firms linked to the Gupta network,” he wrote.
Source: NAM NEWS NETWORK