The Democratic Alliance (DA) has written to the Public Enterprises Minister, Pravin Gordhan, and Finance Minister Tito Mboweni, requesting information on the proposed acquisition of South African Airways.
A DA member of the Standing Committee on Public Accounts (Scopa), Alf Lees, said that while Gordhan announced the deal on June 11, 2021, he failed to provide any details of what this would entail.
“There are a number of unanswered questions that need to be attended to in order to ensure that the deal is not just another bailout for SAA, but also another exercise for connected ANC cadres,” said Lees.
Lees said the DA wants to make sure that the proposed bailout for the airline is not just another deal that’s being done through the Public Investment Corporation or another development finance institution.
The South African government sold a 51 percent ownership in SAA to the Takatso group, which would invest more than R3 billion to give the beleaguered airline a fresh lease on life.
SAA has been in bankruptcy protection since December 2018, but its fortunes took a turn for the worse during the COVID-19 pandemic, and all of its operations were shut down in September 2020 due to a lack of finance.
“The DA has serious concerns about the transparency surrounding the state’s plan to sell the 51 percent shareholding in SAA.
The terms of the memorandum of understanding (MOU) or agreement agreed but not yet signed with Takatso Consortium,” said Lees.
Lees expressed disappointment that Gordhan had yet to respond to Scopa’s request for information from the SAA regarding the deal.
The DA has also written to President Cyril Ramaphosa and the Speaker of Parliament, Thandi Modise, requesting that they use their powers to compel Gordhan and Mboweni to provide the necessary information to the public, given that both ministers have a history of failing to do so.