Pulling back the curtains so the spotlight can shine on state-owned enterprises

Publisher Desmond Sampson

Publisher Desmond Sampson

Too often the achievements and honest days’ work of state-owned enterprises (SOEs) and state-owned companies (SOCs) get lost in the hurly-burly of the milieu in newsrooms across the country. The only time these entities feature in the spotlight is if they are caught up in controversy, corrupt activities or some other issue the media deem deserving of coverage.

While these rather narrow prescripts are part of the media’s inalienable right to determine for themselves what they deem fit for publication or broadcast, it denies their audiences an opportunity to see how these state organs are delivering on their mandates. These SOEs and SOCs are very pervasive, cutting across all spheres of government and playing a crucial role in the series of economic transactions in the country’s production chain.

Their budgets for infrastructure development and service delivery are worth billions of Rand each year, as are the goods and services they procure. They fulfill an important role in the country’s developmental agenda and in advancing the government’s priorities. But, very little of what is achieved gets trumpeted and placed in the public domain for scrutiny and applause.

This negates the government’s efforts at nation building and instilling a sense of national pride as most news concerning the government and its agencies is projected as negative. With the publishing of the SOE Review, we are placing the achievements and successes of the government and its SOEs and SOCs on the front covers.

These entities employ thousands of people, from executives to ordinary workers, with unique information needs because, unlike their counterparts in the private sector, their jobs carry a mandate far beyond simply looking at the bottom line. They are critical for keeping the cogs of the state machinery ticking over.


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