Economist Dawie Roodt has slammed the revolving door at South Africa’s national oil company, PetroSA, after the acting group chief executive (GCEO), Mapula Modipa, resigned on Wednesday.
This comes after PetroSA on Wednesday announced the voluntary departure of Modipa, who is set to step down “for personal reasons” at the end of June after a year at the helm.
PetroSA said that Modipa would be succeeded by Siphamandla Mthethwa – the chief financial officer of PetroSA’s shareholder company, Central Energy Fund – also in an acting capacity until a permanent appointment is made.
Roodt on Wednesday said these movements at a “key state-owned company” were symptomatic of a bankrupt business and pointed to continuous haemorrhaging within the company.
“This has become a normal pattern now of state-owned enterprises of an interim structure or CEO taking over another interim structure. PetroSA is a key state-owned company. But this is another example of a bankrupt company hemorrhaging what little is left of it,” Roodt said.
In June last year, PetroSA declared a record loss of R14.5-billion for 2015 when it tabled its annual financial statements to Parliament, the biggest annual loss faced by any state-owned company since 1994.
In 2014, the company reported a loss of more than R1.6-billion.
In November, PetroSA fired its former chief executive, Nosizwe Nokwe-Macamo, four months after it had put her on suspension over declining revenues, poor investment options and the failure to lead the company into the fuel retail market.
PetroSA also terminated the contract of its chief financial officer, Lindiwe Bakoro, in December, after suspending and investigating her for six months over claims of “poor performance”.
The business of PetroSA includes the exploration and production of oil and natural gas, and the production of synthetic fuels from offshore gas in Mossel Bay.
PetroSA’s record losses forced its bosses to go to Parliament, begging bowl in hand, and ask the National Treasury for loan guarantees.
Treasury’s spokesperson Phumza Macanda declined to comment on Wednesday, saying the Department of Energy was best placed to say what was going on at the parastatal.
But the Energy department’s spokesperson, Lerato Ntsoko, was not available for comment after repeated attempts.
Roodt said it would be better to close down PetroSA or privatise it.
“This is going to cost taxpayers a lot of money if it continues. We have to stop this haemorrhaging. It’s either we have to close down this company or privatise it. The Minister of Finance has to make a decision,” Roodt said. – African News Agency (ANA)