Pravin Gordhan goes off on a jaunt to Kenya instead of answering questions on SAA in Parliament

Issued by Alf Lees MP – DA Member of the Standing Committee on Public Accounts
07 Nov 2022 in News

At the eleventh hour Pravin Gordhan, the Minister of Public Enterprises, has convinced the SCOPA Chair to postpone a SCOPA meeting due to take place tomorrow, 8 November 2022.

Apparently accompanying President Cyril Ramaphosa on a visit to Kenya is more important than appearing before Parliament. According to the letter from Gordhan to the SCOPA Chair, the request from Cyril Ramaphosa was made to Gordhan “late” last week, long after the notice for SAA to appear before SCOPA was issued.

SAA has been asked to update SCOPA on the status of the SAA/Takatso deal that will see 51% of the shares in a debt free SAA being transferred to the Takatso Consortium for a pittance of R51,0!

These shares in SAA are sold after all liabilities of SAA have been paid by the taxpayer. R51 thus buys 51% of the shares in SAA with no liabilities but extensive assets in the form of, amongst others, a well-known and established brand, extensive and valuable route rights, fixed properties, aircraft and 100% of the shares in SAA Technical and Air Chefs.

Over the past 17 months since the grand announcement by Pravin Gordhan of the gratuitous sale of 51% of the shares in a debt free SAA to the Takatso Consortium, Pravin Gordhan has obfuscated or simply refused to divulge the full details of the SAA/Takatso agreement nor the operating reports of SAA since it resumed operations in September 2021.

Despite probing questions having been put to Gordhan during SCOPA meetings he has simply not provided the required detailed replies to questions and SCOPA has allowed Gordhan to get off the hook and to escape from providing answers to questions. The same obfuscation and lack of answers has been the ongoing modus operandi of Pravin Gordhan when dealing with written parliamentary questions put to him on the SAA/Takatso deal.

During a presidential reply session in Parliament on the 3rd of November 2022 President Ramaphosa accepted that full details of the SAA/Takatso deal should be made public. This is in direct contradiction of the way that Pravin Gordhan has responded to questions on the SAA/Takatso deal.

No doubt when Pravin Gordhan does appear before SCOPA with SAA on 15 November 2022, if he “allows” the meeting to go ahead on the new date, he will attempt to ensure that none of the SAA or Department of Public Enterprises officials give the game away by responding fully to questions put during the meeting.

The DA has written to the Chair of SCOPA to request that he use the powers vested in him as the SCOPA chair to insist that Pravin Gordhan, SAA and officials provide full details of the SAA/Takatso deal and that they give full and detailed answers to all questions put by SCOPA members.