2000

UNITED DEMOCRATIC MOVEMENT

MEDIA RELEASE


PRIVATISATION IS NOT PROGRESSING WELL

STATEMENT ISSUED BY CEDRIC FROLICK, MP
UDM SPOKESPERSON FOR PUBLIC ENTERPRISES

Reports of President Mbeki stating that privatisation "is progressing well" comes as a surprise. The UDM would like to hear that there is in fact progress, but until evidence of this progress is produced we cannot help thinking that Government is doing little more than procrastinating.

The budget speech of the Minister of Public Enterprises went by without the much-expected announcement of plans on restructuring state utilities. Frankly, the only progress on restructuring, as Government likes to call privatisation, seems to be a progression of assurances from members of the Executive that progress is being made. Meanwhile, reports of massive planned retrenchments seem to be the only detail of Government's restructuring plan that is shared with the public.

The potential for job creation and huge injections for the economy through the restructuring of state utilities remain. But continued silence and empty assurances raises serious concerns for the UDM. Is Government going to squander the opportunity by selling to large foreign investors without giving workers and South Africans the opportunity to invest? Will large investors be encouraged to participate at the expense of small entrepreneurs? Will thousands of workers be retrenched, and released into an unfriendly employment market, without the skills to find new employment? Will privatisation lead to the end of monopolies, or is Government simply allowing some state utilities to commit unbridled predatory market activities in an effort to ensure a profitable sale and massive unchallengeable market share in the future?

These questions are serious and unavoidable, the sooner they are answered the sooner all stakeholders can get involved to ensure that the maximum benefit for all are achieved. The UDM urges Government, as matter of urgency, to put its restructuring plans or strategies on the table. 

Enquiries:
Cedric Frolick, MP
UDM Spokesperson for Public Enterprises

Cape Town
19 June 2000