|Democratic Alliance (DA) Leader Mmusi Maimane says he is not holding his breath to see Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba tabling a Mini-Budget to serve the poor and marginalised South Africans.
Maimane was speaking at the launch of a DA Billboard in Park station, Johannesburg on Monday.
The billboard highlights the extent to which the ANC has undermined the poor and the jobless by throwing billions of rands of public money at South African Airways (SAA).
“Judging by Minister Gigaba’s track record in all his cabinet positions, I am not holding my breath for the latter. Because to date he has shown no capacity to serve the interest of the people. All he has shown us is that he is there to do the bidding of Zuma’s handlers, the Guptas. That he is a captured man,” said Maimane.
Maimane said just three weeks ago Minister Gigaba stuck his hand into the public purse and took out R3 billion to bailout loss making South African Airways.
“Three months earlier he did the same, this time for R2.2bn. And this R5.2bn is just half of what is needed to keep the airline aloft this financial year.If you look back at past bailouts given to the airline since 1999 that amount goes up to R19bn. And if you include the government guarantees – money that taxpayers will fork out if Eskom can’t pay its debts – then we’re talking about a massive R35bn,” said Maimane.
He said under Dudu Myeni’s leadership, the National Carrier has lost almost R16 billion over the past five years.
Maimane said the same government that would throw R35 billion at a failing airline tells us there wasn’t enough money to stop four children a day dying from starvation.
Earlier this year, in answer to a Parliamentary question, said Maimane the Department of Health said 4900 children under the age of five had died over the past three years in South Africa due to severe acute malnutrition. Let that sink in
“That’s 136 children a month, or more than four a day, dying of hunger right here in our own country. And they’re dying because their mothers cannot feed them on the R380 a month they’re given as a child support grant. When asked why the child support grant is just R380 a month, the Minister said: That’s all the money there is,” said Maimane.
Maimane added that on Thursday, the Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa said that SAA was a national asset.
“I would have thought a businessman like Cyril would know the difference between an asset and a liability. Let us also not forget that Ramaphosa chaired the Inter-Ministerial Committee on State-Owned Enterprises, but was not willing to implement any measures to curb the mismanagement. No, Deputy President calling SAA a national asset is not a good enough answer. Not a single person in government can answer the basic question of why we should keep saving SAA,” said Maimane.
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