SAA bailout yet to be approved by Parliament

As required by law, Finance Minister Gigaba has officially informed Parliament about last month's R3 billion bailout to SAA.

FILE: Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba. Picture: Christa Eybers/EWN.

CAPE TOWN - Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba may have bought South African Airways (SAA) some more time from its lenders, but the legality of the process is being called into question by Parliament.

In a report tabled on Friday, Gigaba says banks may be willing to extend a repayment deadline to March next year, provided he announces an equity injection into the ailing national carrier when he tables the medium-term budget policy statement later this month.

As required by law, Gigaba has officially informed Parliament about last month's R3 billion bailout to SAA.

Treasury has already paid out more than R5 billion to the airline since June, but these amounts are yet to be approved by Parliament.

The Democratic Alliance's Alf Lees says Gigaba is circumventing the budgetary process because the money won't be approved before the end of October as required by the banks who lend to SAA.

“So that means that in a sense he's made the decision for Parliament before it's even placed before Parliament.”

Parliament's finance committee is expected to discuss the legality of invoking emergency clauses within the Public Finance Management Act to bail out the airline when it meets again next week.