Speaking in Parliament last week, the minister of public enterprises, Pravin Gordhan, said that if the boards and management of state-owned enterprises (SOEs) did not do what the government expected of them, it would intervene to ensure proper governance and financial management.
Tough words, again, from the man who only three months ago said the previous CEO of Eskom and his colleagues "have a lot to explain to South Africa".
Mr Gordhan's latest warnings prompt a number of questions. The first is whether or not the government of which he is a member actually has the capacity to pick people with the capacity to run SOEs. If, as he says, SOEs have been plagued by corruption and mismanagement, the main reason is that many of the people running them were put there by a government of which Cyril Ramaphosa was a senior member. Not only that, Mr Ramaphosa was for many years chairman of the deployment committee of the African National Congress (ANC), which had a major say in the appointment of SOE executives.
Four months ago the deputy president, David Mabuza, said that people who did not make it on to the ANC's final national and provincial lists for the elections in May would be deployed to other institutions. The scope of deployment was wide, and his party would look at other options so that "we occupy every important point in every important institution".
So while Mr Gordhan said last week that state capture was a major reason for the plight of major SOEs, Mr Mabuza has reminded us that it remains the policy of his party. He did so at more or less the same time as a former deputy finance minister, Mcebisi Jonas, was telling the commission of enquiry into state capture under Raymond Zondo that state capture should not be "over-Zumanised". The country, Mr Jonas said, should build a wall between party and state.
This idea of course flies in the face of the modus operandi of the ANC. Whether Mr Gordhan is willing to flout the cadre deployment policy, or whether he will be allowed to, remains to be seen.