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The Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) welcomes the Finance Minister, Enoch Godongwana’s withdrawal of the National Treasury’s ill-conceived proposal to exempt Eskom from comprehensively reporting on irregular, fruitless, and wasteful expenditure for the next three financial years in its Annual Financial Statements.
The Federation appreciates that the government listened to and conceded to the workers and the public’s outcry against its dubious and contentious decisions. This change of heart should also be extended to Transnet which received the same exemption in March 2022.
The obscurantist arguments proffered by the government for the exemption of these SOEs were unsatisfactory. They were an unnecessary distraction and reinforced the perception that decision-makers in this country view accountability as a nuisance to be managed away.
The country’s self-deception is one of the reasons we are in trouble. We prefer to deflect than face up to the realities of the situation. We will much rather lie to ourselves or be lied to than deal with the truth.
The government needs to intensify and strengthen the financial regulatory framework and governance systems, including implementing the Zondo Commission’s recommendations. COSATU welcomes Treasury’s call for a constructive engagement on what support is needed for our State-Owned Enterprises.
However, this cannot come at the expense of state companies failing to account for how they spend the workers’ hard-earned taxes. The fight against corruption, state capture, and malfeasance needs to be elevated and not weakened. This includes tightening the Auditing Profession Act as COSATU has repeatedly called for.
Treasury needs to move with speed to table the Public Procurement Bill in Parliament. This will help plug the many holes in public finances and procurement across the state. The Bill needs to reach Parliament by the 1st of July if we are to ensure that it might still be passed into law before the end of the 6th administration. Treasury is rapidly running out of time to do so with less than 6 months left in the Parliamentary Programme.
Issued by COSATU