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Public Enterprises Dept in talks with Treasury over SAA bailout

It emerged last week that government had failed to honour the payment, which was part of an agreement reached when the national airline was put under business rescue.

FILE: SAA entered a form of bankruptcy protection last month in an effort to rescue the company and 10,000-related jobs. Picture: South African Airways.

JOHANNESBURG - The Public Enterprises Department on Sunday said it was speaking with National Treasury about the R2 billion it promised to pay to help keep the South African Airways (SAA) afloat.

It emerged last week that government had failed to honour the payment, which was part of an agreement reached when the national airline was put under business rescue.

In a statement issued on Sunday night, the department said government was still committed to the creation of a sustainable, competitive and efficient SAA with a strategic partner.

The department is yet to give a date for when it will pay the money it promised to the carrier.

FINANCIAL SUPPORT

On Thursday, Finance Minister Tito Mboweni said Treasury had provided SAA with financial support to the best of its abilities.

Mboweni addressed business leaders in Johannesburg ahead of the World Economic Forum annual meeting in Davos this week.

SAA entered a form of bankruptcy protection last month in an effort to rescue the company and 10,000-related jobs.

The National Transport Union said it was concerned with the slow pace government was taking to provide R2 billion it promised.

At the time, it was promised R2 billion from the government and R2 billion from lenders.

The union has warned that without the money, there could be dire consequences such as suspended flights and delay in salary payments.

The union's Mashudu Raphetha said: “One of the lenders is saying government must show them what size it’s going to be at SAA before they give us the loan.”

Additional reporting by Mia Lindeque.