Big oil, big word

The news continues to serve up words that are new to me. In a Washington Post article today about the new interim president of South Africa, Kgalema Motlanthe of the African National Congress party:

The new president has not himself escaped scandal. He was among ANC leaders who went to Iraq to promote an oil deal that saw nearly $1.4 million in state funds from the South African oil parastatal funneled to the ANC's 2004 election campaign.

The American Heritage Dictionary defines parastatal as "a company or agency owned or controlled wholly or partly by the government." The OED defines it as "an organization or industry, now especially in some African countries, having political authority and serving the state indirectly."

I think parastatal needed to be better explained or put in a better context here to be clear. The issue of the parastatal is a very small part of the article, and not the point at which I'd send readers to the dictionary.