Picture: Henk Kruger/African News Agency (ANA)
Picture: Henk Kruger/African News Agency (ANA)

Budget Speech 2020: R16.4bn SAA bailout draws ire of DA

By ANA Reporter Time of article published Feb 26, 2020

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Durban - Democratic Alliance (DA) standing committee on public accounts (SCOPA) member Alf Lees on Wednesday slammed Finance Minister Tito Mboweni's announcement that national carrier SAA would again be thrown a lifeline at taxpayers' expense. 

"The whole business rescue of SAA was clearly a farce on the part of the ANC in an effort to prevent liquidation and keep control of SAA," Lees said in a statement. 

The carrier was placed in voluntary business rescue in December. 

During his budget speech, delivered on Wednesday afternoon, the minister said that over the medium term, government had allocated R16.4 billion to settle guaranteed debt and interest at SAA. The associated restructuring costs would be reprioritised within the budget, he added. 

"It is the very sincere hope of many that this intervention will lead to a sustainable airline that is not a burden to the fiscus," said Mboweni.

The funding included provisions for the state to repay urgent borrowings and some R2 billion ploughed into business rescue expenses so far, National Treasury staff explained shortly before Mboweni tabled the 2020 budget. 

Lees said it was "outrageous" that funds needed to stimulate the country's economy and for job creation would be used on the SAA "vanity project". 

"This, whilst the child grant is to go up by a measly R 20 to R445 per month -  an amount well below the amount required to provide a healthy diet for a child, let alone for the basics of clothing and other necessities," said Lees. 

He said the ANC and its trade union alliance partners should "hang their heads in shame" for wasting money on SAA. 

African News Agency (ANA)

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