Radebe affirms R10bn SAA bailout
MINISTER in the Presidency Jeff Radebe has added his voice to that of senior government officials that SAA will get a bailout of R10 billion.
Radebe’s statement in the National Council of Provinces yesterday (NCOP) came after Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa told the same House the day before the same thing.
Radebe was answering oral questions in the NCOP when EFF and DA members asked him about the bailout.
He said Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba would give more details on the matter in the next few weeks.
Addressing the NCOP on Wednesday, Ramaphosa told MPs that a Special Appropriations Bill would be tabled in Parliament before the end of the month.
On the same day, National Treasury Director-General Dondo Mogajane also confirmed to the standing committee on finance that the Special Appropriations Bill would be tabled before month end as this was an urgent matter.
SAA needs the money before the end of the month to pay some of the banks it owes R6.8bn.
But the EFF asked Radebe if the Presidency had influenced National Treasury to give SAA the bailout.
He denied the Presidency was behind the bailout, but said Gigaba had indicated he would address the matter.
“The appropriate person is the minister of finance who will make a decision in the next few weeks,” said Radebe.
SAA has been financially bleeding over the last few years and has survived on government bailouts amounting to almost R20bn in the past 10 years. The government has said it would consider selling its 39% share at Telkom, worth R13bn, to get the money to fund SAA.
But opposition parties in the NCOP were not happy about the bailout to SAA.
Chris Hattingh, of the DA , said the government couldn’t continue to rescue ailing state-owned entities (SOEs).
He said the government had allowed the looting of SOEs by the Guptas.
The Guptas have denied the allegations in the past.
Radebe said they were monitoring the work of SOEs to align it with the National Development Plan.
He asked MPs to be patient with the government in improving the balance sheet of state entities.
“As I have indicated in my reply before, there is a mechanism to monitor SOEs. We shall improve over time. There was the Presidential Review Commission where the issue of restructuring is (discussed on) an ongoing basis,” he said.
Radebe acknowledged that the poor performance of SOEs would not yield good results.
“All SOEs are committed to the implementation of the NDP. Due to the financial challenges that many SOEs are having that could retard progress. We should improve the performance of SOEs,” said Radebe.