Date: Thu, 13 Jun 1996 10:54:51 +0800
From: Peter Limb <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: Re: ANC & privatization
South Africa accelerates privatisation moves
Peter Limb comments on a Reuters news item
13 June 1996
CAPE TOWN, June 12 (Reuter) - The South African government has invited
labour representatives into a series of cabinet committees mapping
privatisation plans for release in August, Minister of Public
Enterprises Stella Sigcau said on Wednesday.
Sigcau told reporters in Cape Town that Friday's release of a
macro-economic framework for growth and development - the government's
first comprehensive economic policy package - would accelerate moves
Warning that further delays could see opportunities wasted, she said
she expected the first major privatisation announcement before the end
of the year.
Economists and business leaders believe privatisation is central to
restoring investor confidence, which was badly dented by the rand's
sharp fall in the last three months.
Sigcau said a six-a-side committee of government and unions met on
Sunday to work out how to finalise the restructuring and possible
privatisation of state-owned facilities including telecommunications
"Apart from the general task teams that we have had all along, we
decided we would have in each area a sub-committee of ministers and
that in order to facilitate the process we could have a third person
coming from labour," she told reporters in Cape own.
She said she and the relevant minister would comprise the government
element of committees on communications, transport, minerals and
energy, trade and industry including defence, water and forestry and
some miscellaneous issues.
"We are hoping that between now and August we will have covered a
lot of ground to say: 'This is what the Deputy President (Thabo Mbeki)
must finally announce," she said.
Mbeki announced far-reaching plans last December to partially or
entirely sell off state-owned assets ranging from under-utilised
buildings to a stake in the Telkom telecommunications corporation.
The plans were derailed by labour protests which resulted in a
National Framework Agreement giving unions a voice in the future of
President Nelson Mandela ran into flak during a visit last month to
Germany over apparently mixed signals on privatisation and delegates
to a World Economic Forum meeting in Cape Town complained that the
government was indecisive on the issue.
But Mandela unlocked the debate when he said in Germany and on his
return: "Privatisation is the fundamental policy of the ANC and it
will be implemented."
Sigcau denied that there had been any uncertainty about privatisation,
"The uncertainty was: Can you restructure when there are no
formulated policies, when there is no enunciated economic plan for the
"The unfolding policies, the statement (on Friday) will really
unlock areas of uncertainty," she said.
"We must never ever keep an entity which is moving back. No matter
what we say, if Telkom does not move we are going to miss out on a
number of opportunities," she said.
Sigcau said the government would have to draft legislation to create
regulatory mechanisms for restructured state corporations.
Re: ANC & privatization
By Peter Limb
This all really points to the lack of an effective ALTERNATIVE program
being advanced by the left - or rather that such a program has not
been adopted by govt. What do others feel?
This is nothing new, of course, as social democratic govts all around
the world have been doing the same thing for a number of years. but
who benefits from privatisiation? the ability to generate public
sector profits year after year is lost.
How many more years must this privatization process continue before
the logical question arises: re-nationalization. Is this going to be a
circular process, as in Britain, with privatization and
re-nationalization of profitable/unprofitable sectors, or is this
really the end of history??
University of Western AustraliaPeter Limb
Nedlands, 6907, W.A. AUSTRALIA
email: email@example.comPeter Limb