The Democratic Alliance said on Tuesday that government must come clean on South African Airways future. File Image: IOL
CAPE TOWN - The Democratic Alliance said on Tuesday that government must come clean on 
South African Airways future. 

In a statement by Shadow Deputy Minister of Finance, Alf Lees, the DA said that they have  submitted an urgent question for oral reply by Pravin Gordhan, Minister of Public Enterprises, on Government’s plans regarding shutting down SAA.

The Minister is due to reply to oral questions in Parliament on Wednesday the 14th of November 2018.

The DA wants Gordhan to use this opportunity to address the "confusion surrounding the future of the ailing national carrier".

TWO DIFFERENT VIEWS

It is clear that there are divisions in government as to whether or not to cut SAA loose, the DA said.

On Monday, Gordhan stated that SAA must be kept going in an attempt to stabilise the airline. 

Gordhan  stated that “we are going to put incompetent boards, we going to put in the right kind of managers who work and don't just claim to be managers. They must know enough about the business to make a difference.’’

Finance Minister, Tito Mboweni, is of the view that “SAA is in a loss-making situation and it is unlikely that the situation is going to be sorted out so we need to close SAA down”.

Last week, Mboweni voiced his dissatisfaction with the national carrier. Mboweni also said that he doubted that the government would find an investor to take an equity stake in the airline, due to its current financial state.

“I doubt you are going to find an equity partner who will come into SAA in this current state. As an equity partner you’d have to immediately assume the debt of some R21 billion,” Mboweni told lawmakers, a day after giving a bleak medium-term budget speech (MTBPS).

BUSINESS RESCUE

Lees said in the statement that "clearly the left-hand does not seem to be aligned with the right hand. The confusion that must now be reigning amongst SAA suppliers who supply the bankrupt company and the SAA staff must now be considerable."

"It is evident that there is a lack of communications between the two Ministers on the vital issue of closing down SAA in order to save the R21.7 billion in taxpayer bailouts that the airline requires to keep operational. SAA continues to run at a loss and has time and again failed to effectively implement turn-around plans, at the expense of the South African taxpayer", Lees said.

The DA is, therefore, calling for SAA to be placed under business rescue without delay.

BUSINESS REPORT ONLINE