The Democratic Alliance (DA) has submitted an urgent question for oral reply by Pravin Gordhan, Minister of Public Enterprises, on Government’s plans regarding shutting down South African Airways (SAA).
The Minister is due to reply to oral questions in Parliament on Wednesday the 14th of November 2018 and must use this opportunity to address the confusion surrounding the future of the ailing national carrier.
It is clear that there are divisions in the ANC government as to whether or not to cut SAA loose.
On Monday, Minister Gordhan stated that SAA must be kept going by way of taxpayer bailouts in an attempt to stabilize the ailing airline. The Minister stated that “we are going to put in competent 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.’’
On the other hand 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”.
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.
For the DA the answer is simple – SAA must be placed under business rescue without delay.