They asked for "a better definition of their mandates" and roles, so that conflict with their parastatal's boards as well as their shareholder ministries can be avoided.
Whether the public enterprises minister is Gordhan or someone else, so long as there is no clear definition of the roles, the CEOs will always find themselves in conflict with the boards and their political principals.
Whispers in the corridors of power at Eskom, for instance, suggest that Hadebe interference by non- executive board members, rather than the minister, led to his resignation.
But it has not always been the undue interference by politicians and nonexecutive board members which led to the departure of black CEOs from parastatals.
A long list of highly skilled executives whose futures looked bright were felled by corruption or their inability to resist the agents of state capture.
To complain that parastatals destroy careers without acknowledging that some of the trouble that befell black executives is of their own doing is to be dishonest.
It is therefore imperative that executives appointed to head parastatals are people of high moral standing and that the president and his government do all in their power to give them the support they need.