Although cautiously optimistic about government’s sale of its 13,9% stake in Vodacom to the Public Investment Corporation (PIC), and a shift in the policy towards funding of distressed state-owned entities, the DA has a number of concerns around the Eskom deal.According to a statement from Malcolm Figg, DA member of the Finance Portfolio Committee, the party believes that the solution to the financial woes of Eskom and other SOEs lies in the strategic sale of assets and establishment of public private partnerships – rather than increasing the burden on ordinary South Africans.
“However, the DA has a myriad of concerns around the nature of this particular transaction,” he states.
Figg has written to Minister of Finance, Nhlanhla Nene, requesting he answer the following questions in this regard:
* What was the final sale price, per share sold, and total revenue realised;
* What was the nature of the “market sounding exercise” undertaken by government prior to the sale;
* Who were the “numerous organisations” that presented proposals for raising the funds to be allocated to Eskom;
* What other assets were identified as suitable for disposal; and
* Did this “closed sale” result in the largest possible revenue amount being raised.
“Considering that this sale was done purely to raise revenue, Treasury’s justification for selling these state-owned assets to a state-owned entity does not hold water. It is not clear what the so-called ‘added benefit of keeping the shares within the broader family of public sector-related institutions’ entails. The Minister must explain what this public benefit actually is,” Figg states.
“From its inception, this sale has been shrouded in secrecy, yet preceded with inordinate haste once the Eskom Special Appropriations Bill was bludgeoned through Parliament just days ago amid strong objections by the DA.”