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Development Bank criticised for R3.5bn SAA lifeline

The wholly-owned government entity has pledged R3.5 billion to the struggling national carrier.

FILE: SAA is currently under business rescue, with the government hoping to bring in an equity partner to stabilise the company. Picture: EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - The Development Bank of Southern Africa’s move to give South African Airways (SAA) a lifeline has on Wednesday been criticised by experts who say it was not the bank’s mandate.

The wholly-owned government entity has pledged R3.5 billion to the struggling national carrier.

Some political parties say the money given to SAA may be redirected from important development projects meant for millions of South Africans.

But political economist Matlala Setlhalogile said government was desperate.

“This entity has been trying to improve its financial health for over a decade. It was always going to be a tough one for National Treasury.”

Corporate lawyer Vaughn Harrison doubts SAA will be able to repay the loan.

“This money has already been given to a failing entity that I think owes over R20 billion.”

SAA is currently under business rescue, with the government hoping to bring in an equity partner to stabilise the company.