SAA had not generated a profit since 2011 . File Image: IOL

CAPE TOWN – The Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) held very little back when it condemned and denounced Finance Minister Tito Mboweni’s statement about SAA, describing it as reckless. 

In a strongly worded statement Cosatu said it had noted with deep alarm the statements by the Finance Minister during an investment conference in New York, where he suggested that state-owned SAA should be closed down. 

Mboweni was speaking at an investor conference in New York on Thursday night, when he said that decisions over the future of the state-owned airline were not under his remit. 

“This is the second time that Minister Tito Mboweni has been spouting his personal positions that are not ANC policies. He has previously shot his mouth on e-tolls despite the ANC position on the matter,” said Cosatu.

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Meanwhile trade union Solidarity said it was pleased that sustained pressure kept the spotlight on SAA, and that this pressure had resulted in government finally seeing “the real SAA picture”. 

“Due to cadre deployment and incredible mismanagement SAA finds itself in an extremely difficult situation. Minister Mboweni agrees with Solidarity that if we keep on doing the same things we will get the same results,” Solidarity’s deputy chief executive Werner Human said.

The DA said it noted with “great interest” the view expressed by Mboweni that SAA should be closed down, adding that SAA had not generated a profit since 2011 and survived on state guarantees, with the latest R5 billion bailout proposed by the government last month. 

SAA recorded losses of R5.6 billion in 2014/15, R1.4 billion in 2015/16, R5.5 billion in 2016/17 and R 5.7 billion in 2017/18, and is running at a loss. The airline's turn-around plan makes provisions for further losses until the 2020/21 financial year.

Alf Lees, DA spokesperson on finance, said this troubled state-owned entity continued to be a huge drain on the fiscus.

BUSINESS REPORT ONLINE