South Africa will see some of the alleged corrupt employees responsible for the state capture of state-owned enterprises (SOE’s) “in the dock” over the next few months and if found guilty, “walking around in orange clothing.”

These were the words of Pravin Gordhan, Minister of Public Enterprises, when he addressed the annual Nedlac Organised Labour School at Kiviets Kroon in Pretoria today.

“Corruption is a cancer eating South African society at the moment. The cost of state capture to the country over the past seven to eight years is something nobody is talking about now. In several SOE’s there is not enough money to pay the salaries of employees,” said Gordhan.

Gordhan addressed the school about the state of Eskom which is insolvent and has a debt of R420 billion. “This is a direct result of the state capture in recent years.”

A recent lifestyle audit done on Eskom’s employees indicated that more than 2 000 employees were pointed out. This is part of an overall clean-up of Eskom.

“Eskom is not making enough money to pay the interest on its debt. It is also not making enough money to pay its running costs.”

According to Gordhan the corruption at Transnet was done “masterfully”. Transnet was the first SOE which was used as a pilot project for state capture by moving as much capital as possible in expenditure and into the pockets of individuals.

“The current Board of Transnet is strong and is already dealing with some of the Executives with loaded pockets. Others will follow.”

Gordhan said it must be remembered that the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA), the Hawks and various other units of the South African Police Service (SAPS) was also captured hence there was no prosecutions over the state capturing period.

“That is why all the crooks are still walking around. Those accountable must be held accountable and put behind bars. A strong message must be sent out to society that corruption will not be tolerated.”

The United National Transport Union (UNTU) wanted to know from Gordhan if Government were considering merging the ruined Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (PRASA) back to Transnet to save the service.

Gordhan said he and Transport Minister Blade Nzimande agrees with UNTU that urgent action is needed at PRASA. PRASA’s inability to provide a reliable passenger rail service has a devastating negative impact on the economy and on workers who face dismissal for late coming.

According to Gordhan an SOE council will be established soon to review the functioning of all the SOE’s and then it will be considered if some of them, like PRASA, might operate better if they were integrated with another.