The African National Congress (ANC)’s national executive committee (NEC) has slammed Finance Minister Tito Mboweni for his remarks that the South African Airways (SAA) should be closed down, saying ANC deployees in government must stick to the party’s resolutions.
Mboweni told an investor conference in New York last week that there is no need for the state to run an airline it cannot afford.
SAA, which has not generated a profit since 2011, survives on state guarantees and is regularly cited by credit rating agencies as a drain on the government purse.
It recently received R5 billion cash injection from the government.
Since making the statement, Mboweni received criticism from various sectors including trade unions and other political parties and it seems the ANC’s NEC is also concerned.
Spokesperson Pule Mabe says: “Well the most important thing is that it encourages all our deployees to stick to the resolutions of the African National Congress and make sure that through our patience and in our deeds we continue to affirm those policy positions of the movement.”
Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan also released a statement three days after Mboweni made the remarks, saying SAA is a good airline but a poorly run business.
He told the board to implement the airline’s turnaround with “a greater sense of urgency”.
SAA NEEDS TO IMPLEMENT CHANGES
The Ministry of Public Enterprises said SAA needs to implement changes that will make the airline financially stable.
It says senior management at SAA needs to identify problems and implement solutions as soon as possible to avoid further financial strain.
“If we look at the Medium-Term Budget Policy Statement, it is clear that the fiscus is no longer either willing or able to extend further bailouts to the national carrier,” says the spokesperson of the Ministry of Public Enterprises, Adrian Lackay.
The department said corruption and maladministration have pulled the state-owned enterprise further into financial decay.
“The minister would want to see greater urgency from management and the board to indicate what interventions can be implemented immediately to try and bring the airline back to operational and financial sustainability,” says Lackay.