Public Enterprises Minister, Pravin Gordhan says radical surgery is required to ensure that Eskom’s municipal debt of 13.5 billion rand is addressed, warning that the power utility was carrying an unfair burden.

He was speaking to SABC News in Washington where he’s been engaging the leadership of the World Bank on global best practices in the monitoring and management of state owned entities.

Minister Gordhan also expressed his confidence that the country would begin to see proper investigations and prosecutions into allegations of corruption at SOEs.

Gordhan says team South Africa is not seeking  for new loans. He has confirmed that the World Bank’s 2010 loan of 3.75 billion dollars to Eskom would not be withdrawn, and agreed that radical action was needed to deal with the entities’ outstanding municipal debts.

“There’s two issues… one is the political management of municipalities, where I think in my own view a lot more interventionist approach needs to be taken to sort out the politics, so that you get the right management of the finances in a municipality, and the right kind of political decisions that are actually made. The second issue, which is something we need to look at a lot harder, is the culture of payment in our country – because if citizens believe that they don’t have to pay for anything, then no municipality can collect anything, nor can they pay their debts.”

As the rehabilitation of state owned entities continues across the board, he believes agents of corruption will have to answer for their crimes soon.

“I’m sure we’re going to get to point very soon where effective investigations happen… evidence is compiled properly… People are taken to court, and a team of prosecutors do what they’re supposed to actually do – and I think that’s what the public expects at the end of the day… that those who have been guilty in relation to some of these activities need to pay some kind of price, because they’ve actually set us back a few years.”

Gordhan has also indicated it would take between 6 to 9 months to stabilise most of the entities under his supervision.

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