SA is unlikely to grow at a rate sufficient to reduce unemployment and poverty meaningfully unless we start thinking of innovative ways to solve problems.

The increased role Malusi Gigaba (Cover Story July 1) envisions for state- owned enterprises (SOEs) is not entirely new, but comes at a critical time for growth and employment prospects.

For the most part, strategic decisions such as this are a balance of probabilities. Unless implemented well, there will be significant wastage, inefficiency and corruption. And even if well-implemented, it is unlikely that none of the aforesaid negatives will not manifest.

Conversely, it is almost certain that though more of the same policy may carry limited risks, it will not provide the full financial or economic benefits required. Thus, the key question is whether on balance the new direction proposed for the SOEs will on aggregate yield benefits, whether the state can afford the direction and whether alternative utilisation of the very same resources would yield higher benefits?

Evidence derived from the policies of other key emerging economies provides the basis for guesswork and therefore I would answer, yes, yes and no.

Though it is not his money, we are glad that the minister has the vision to see the enhanced critical role the SOEs have to play in SA and the rest of the continent to enhance economic growth and address the twin challenges of unemployment and poverty.