DA to ask Gordhan to ‘shelve’ plans for new state-funded airline

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The party says it will welcome a new airline only if it is privately owned and is not funded by the state.

The Democratic Alliance (DA) has said that it will use today’s Standing Committee on Public Accounts (Scopa) meeting to ask Minister of Public Enterprises Pravin Gordhan to shelve any plans he may have for a new airline unless the minister makes it “absolutely” clear that it will be privately owned and not state-funded.

DA MP Alf Lees said South African Airways (SAA) financial statements presented before Scopa on Thursday, revealed that SAA made losses of R5.5 billion in 2018 and R5.1 billion in 2019.

“What this shows is that the multibillion-rand bailouts by government over the years have failed to cure the ills of the badly run airline.

“The South African taxpayer does not deserve to be saddled with another state-funded airline when evidence clearly shows that it will also be another fiscal drag just like its predecessor.

“Gordhan’s plans to short circuit the business rescue process to realise his ‘vision’ of aviation sector consolidation in South Africa, betrays his naked attempt to retain, even expand, state participation in the sector.

“Gordhan should not be allowed to sacrifice the country’s financial well-being through regressive plans of trying to appease unions by promising them a new airline. South Africa cannot afford it.”

(Compiled by Makhosandile Zulu)

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