Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa replying to oral questions in the National Assembly, Parliament. Cape Town. South Africa. 02/03/2016. Siaybulela Duda

Parliament – Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa on Wednesday told MPs the restructuring of state-owned enterprises, and potential closure of some, was still the subject of debate among ministers and proposals would be tabled to Cabinet in due course.

“(It) is still a matter of discussion and debate in the inter-ministerial committee, whereafter the IMC will come with recommendations,” Ramaphosa told the National Assembly during a question session.

He said this included the possibility of merging troubled carriers South African Airways and South African Express, and “phasing out” some parastatals that were no longer serving a clear purpose to the state.

“Just be patient until we come with a proper announcement,” he added when pressed for details by Democratic Alliance leader Mmusi Maimane.

Ramaphosa stressed that restructuring would be done with care for the fate of employees of the companies.

Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan mooted the merger between SAA and SA Express when he tabled the annual budget last week.

Gordhan made it plain that the government could not continue to give bailouts to struggling state-owned enterprises and said it would look for minority equity partners for some, including the national airline.