Radebe af­firms R10bn SAA bailout

Pretoria News - - NEWS - SIYABONGA MKHWANAZI

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.

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