Sfiso Buthelezi: Treasury will never allow SAA to go under

Deputy Finance Minister Sfiso Buthelezi is attending a meeting of Parliament's Standing Committee on Public Accounts.

Picture: FlySAA Facebook page.

CAPE TOWN - Deputy Finance Minister Sfiso Buthelezi says National Treasury will never allow South African Airways (SAA) to go under and he's reiterated that it won't be privatised.

Buthelezi is attending a meeting of Parliament's Standing Committee on Public Accounts.

Members of Parliament are grilling the SAA board chairperson and top executives about the airline's irregular and wasteful expenditure over the past financial year.

Buthelezi has echoed board chair Dudu Myeni and acting CEO Musa Zwane in describing the airline as under-capitalised and therefore needing support.

“National Treasury will never allow the airline to go under, that’s the number one. Two, we are suspicious of a number of things which happened before and I don't think I want to get into that. We are also saying that we don’t want to privatise SAA.”

Chief financial officer Phumeza Nhantsi says SAA is still having difficulty paying its suppliers because of cash-flow problems and has asked Treasury for support.

In July the government gave SAA R2.2 billion to prevent it defaulting on a loan that was called in by Standard Chartered.

Nhantsi says they are hopeful lenders will agree to extend the further debt of about R6.8 billion becoming due next month.

Newly appointed CEO Vuyani Jarana is expected to come on board on 1 September but has yet to confirm this, according to board chairperson Myeni.