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Gordhan assures MPs R70bn IMF loan won’t fund SAA

Opposition MPs have mocked efforts to launch a new airline while the COVID-19 pandemic rages – but Gordhan said the government’s aim is to have a viable, competitive, and sustainable airline.

Pravin Gordhan. Picture: Abigail Javier/EWN

JOHANNESBURG – Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan said none of the funds borrowed from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) would be used to bail out South African Airways (SAA).

The government has concluded an agreement with the IMF to receive a loan of $4.2 billion, which translates into about R70 billion.

Gordhan was responding to questions during Wednesday’s National Assembly sitting to consider and vote on the Adjustment Appropriation Bill tabled by Finance Minister Tito Mboweni last month to deal with the COVID-19 crisis.

Opposition Members of Parliament (MPs) have mocked efforts to launch a new airline while the COVID-19 pandemic rages – but Gordhan said the government’s aim is to have a viable, competitive, and sustainable airline.

“It must save as many jobs as possible and retain as many skills as possible – and ultimately there must be no reliance on the fiscus. That means the end of bailouts, not the beginning of bailouts.”

Gordhan said none of the IMF money that South Africa had been forced to borrow would be used to prop up the struggling national carrier.

“The IMF money is not going to be used for SAA, I think the minister of finance has made that clear.”

The minister said potential investors who have expressed interest in investing in SAA are being considered

“They are currently being reviewed, and when we have some results, we will announce them.”

Gordhan and Mboweni have committed to “mobilising” funds for SAA, but as yet there’s no clear indication of where the money will come from.

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