Friday, November 13, 2009

Para-statals - A litany of incompetence and mismanagement

Nothing to add to that headline. I could have told you that ages ago. Cadre system = Major fail. Maar nou ja, let them bleks burn their little paws by themselves. Private sector leaders no doubt must be feeling a mixture of delight and fear at what is currently going down in Afrique de Soot.

When I wrote this I wasn't aware of the latest debacle that being the news that Armscor CEO Sipho Thomo had been asked to resign in response to the Airbus order, but he is refusing to go. Probably doesn't want to make the same mistake that Jacob Maroga made to ensure his Golden Handshake.

How many years will it take the ANC to realise that loyal comrades or returned exiles do not necessarily make good business leaders and managers. Despite this the ANC government has rewarded many such individuals with high profile jobs at Parastatals with devastating results.

Spoornet has gone from being the backbone of the country’s transport system to an almost lame duck with most freight being moved by Heavy Duty vehicles, clogging up and destroying the road networks. There has been no expansion of the passenger service network in the past 15 years.

Instead of improving conditions for commuters all attention has been placed on the Gautrain and a couple of Business Express models. Where is most of our rolling stock? And who is auditing disused railway lines to see how much has been pulled up and carted off to the local scrap Metal Dealer? A transport network which was once the lifeblood of many a small town has fallen into disuse and those communities have practically died off. Where there used to be a station or water tower you now see only rusting metal.

South African Airways is another prime example of mismanagement, losing millions of rand a day at one stage, employing outdated aircraft that were no longer fuel efficient, flying routes that were no longer viable and spending millions on new aircraft that they could not afford then forgetting to cancel the order!Losing the right to carry the nation’s Rugby Squad to British Airways, then spending another small fortune to sponsor Argentine golfer Angel Cabrerra, instead of a South African!

Then the inability to protect passenger’s valuables by denying accountability and blaming it all on ACSA and their contractors – tell that to the passenger who bought a ticket on SAA not ACSA – pull the other one! How much did it cost us to get rid of their top man? Well it is alleged to be in the region of R15 Million.

The SABC, another example of incompetence and mismanagement at all levels. First they lost the right to broadcast local soccer exclusively, then they couldn’t pay local production houses for media supplied, but they could fly a bunch of people to China for the Olympics and set up a huge display – for what?

Remains a mystery.

Infighting, corruption, fraud and lack of control over finances have left the SABC now looking for a 1% increase in Tax to pay for their incompetence. How much did we have to pay to get rid of the top man there? R11 million was it not?

TELKOM a former parastatal had a beleaguered track record under CEO Papi Molotsane who resigned after only 18 months at the helm pushing Telkom share prices higher on the JSE. The Land Bank: Khutso Mosoma, the Land Bank's AgriBEE manager was placed on “Special Leave” in April this year while The R100m AgriBEE fund he managed was investigated as some R11 million in payments could be reconciled. The amount of money that has disappeared from local government departments and municipalities and other NGO operations is unknown but must amount to Billions of Rand.

Now we have the ESKOM debacle and how much that incompetence and mismanagement has cost the South African economy is incalculable. How much it will cost in the future remains to be seen but a 10 or 11 figure number is anticipated. How much will it cost the Tax Payer in golden handshakes is another matter. That organisation is owed some R51 billion in non paid accounts by municipalities for electricity supplied – has this been stolen or never collected?Instead of Jobs for Pals – jobs which they have no clue of how to handle, should the ANC not be looking at the available expertise in the country and make some of these people “Offers they cannot refuse” to get them out of the crap!

Instead of making Tokyo Sexwale “Human Settlements Minister” so that he could allegedly spend R72,000 per day for 103 days in a row visiting various hotspots around the country. Why didn’t President Zuma call him in and say: “Tokyo I want you to use your business acumen and expertise to manage ESKOM for the next 5 years – here’s R50 Million payment – Go and Fix it for the country” In the long run it would be cheap, especially if he got it right. If I were Zuma I would have called in Tom Boardman – before he decided to retire from Nedbank – and asked him to take over the reins of the Land Bank. Given him carte blanche to fix it and a fat cheque.

At the same time I would have looked for a suitable “businessman” with a proven track record and given him carte blanche to fix SAA or Transnet. Dump the Jobs-for-Pals syndrome and get these huge operations profitable again and create economic growth and employment.

If he wants to fix the SABC – he can speak to me!

1 Opinion(s):

Anonymous said...

Tokyo would only work if he were going to have direct benefit of improving Eskom. He's turned out to be such a dud. He can't do anything right unless its a BEE deal. But, don't worry guys, the tax payer is there to bail out all the failed parastatals...