The alternative to the pain of fixing SOEs is deadly gangrene

Business

The alternative to the pain of fixing SOEs is deadly gangrene

Let’s take back control, with a long-term funding plan where prescribed assets are part of the solution

Mark Barnes

You’d never amputate your foot unless you really had to. It’s not easy getting around on one foot, but it’s better than being dead. Gangrene, from either flesh-eating bacteria or critically inadequate blood supply, causes the body tissue to die – usually due to some infection, illness or injury. If not treated properly and in time, your only chance may be to cut off the affected body part to avoid it spreading into the bloodstream, which will surely kill you.

Electricity, water, transport ... these are the blood supply of the economy. We may have to be pragmatic about prescribed assets. We may be beyond the obvious remedies for loss-making entities: increase revenue or reduce cost – these solutions are crude, impractical, and politically naive.

Users of essential products and services already either cannot afford to pay for them or simply refuse to. Forget increasing the price. Cutting costs in any meaningful way will require retrenching people (be my guest)...

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