Cosatu ‘won’t support’ blank cheque from PIC to bail out SAA

Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba announced in October that SAA is to be recapitalised with R10 billion to pay down loans and provide operating capital.

FILE: Picture: Facebook.com.

PARLIAMENT – The Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) says it won’t support a blank cheque from the Public Investment Corporation (PIC) to bail out South African Airways (SAA).

Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba announced in October that SAA is to be recapitalised with R10 billion to pay down loans and provide operating capital.

Parliament’s Standing Committee on Appropriations has been holding hearings on how best to deal with the embattled airline’s debt and refinancing.

Cosatu’s Matthew Parks says that SAA has a leading role to play in the economy and should not be allowed to collapse.

But he says the government should not see the nearly R2 trillion in assets managed by the Public Investment Corporation as a slush fund for bailing out state-owned companies “that have been run into the ground by corrupt leaders”.

“They’ve (the PIC) got their own criteria for investments, and they’ve done it before around SOEs, but you have to have clean governance, you have to have clean audits, you have to implement the turnaround plan. And right now, SAA is still in a very precarious state.”

Parks says that SAA must first be overhauled to become “investment worthy” before Cosatu will support the use of PIC funds, which include government employees’ pensions, to help the airline.

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(Edited by Zamangwane Shange)