Mboweni ducks questions from DA on where SAA’s funds will come from

Tito Mboweni was challenged by the opposition Democratic Alliance to say whether or not the government intended providing SAA with a further bailout during debate on National Treasury’s budget vote at Parliament on Thursday afternoon.

FILE: Finance Minister Tito Mboweni. Picture: GCIS

CAPE TOWN – Finance Minister Tito Mboweni has refused to be drawn into answering questions about the source of further funding for the stricken national carrier, South African Airways (SAA).

Mboweni was challenged by the opposition Democratic Alliance (DA) to say whether or not the government intended providing SAA with a further bailout during debate on National Treasury’s budget vote at Parliament on Thursday afternoon.

The DA this week made an about-turn on its court application to halt Mboweni from using emergency provisions in the Public Finance Management Act to secure funds for SAA – after Mboweni stated in court papers he had no intention of doing so.

Direct questions came from the DA’s Geordin Hill-Lewis on government’s position regarding funds to SAA.

“Minister, will South African Airways receive any public money or any government guaranteed loans? And minister, will government muscle the PIC, or the IDC or pension funds into making meaningless investments in SAA?”

But Mboweni refused to take the bait, reminding the House that the purpose of the debate was to consider the adjusted budget for National Treasury and its entities, including the South African Revenue Service (Sars).

“And that purpose is to consider the National Treasury vote - it’s not to consider everything else, it is to consider the vote of the National Treasury, which is budget vote number 8. All these other things we have debated.”

National Treasury’s adjusted budget features an R863 million reduction across all its programmes and entities except for Sars.