IFP says SOEs should not get further bailouts from Mboweni’s emergency budget

South African Airways's ability to remain solvent is being questioned in court.

The party says all SOEs should either shape up financially or close up shop and invite private sector partnerships so as to sustain jobs and to remain competitive.

The Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) has said that state-owned enterprises (SOEs), including South African Airways (SAA) should not get any further bailouts from Finance Minister Tito Mboweni’s emergency budget to be delivered on Wednesday.

The minister will deliver the budget on Wednesday, which Treasury said was necessitated by President Cyril Ramaphosa’s announcement that government would spend R500 billion to support the economy following the outbreak of Covid-19 and the resultant lockdowns.

IFP MP, Inkosi Mzamo Buthelezi said the party expects Mboweni’s budget to focus on economic recovery and job creation, “while ensuring that drastic measures are taken to cut non-service-delivery and non-essential line items from budgets across the board”.

“Indeed, this will mean that SOEs – such as South African Airways (SAA) – should therefore not get any further bailouts or state guarantees.

“All SOEs at this time in our country’s economic climate should either shape up financially, or close up shop and invite private sector partnerships so as to sustain jobs and to remain competitive,” Buthelezi said.

He said Mboweni’s budget “must predominantly focus on healthcare, food security and local economic development, and should fundamentally transform the way we do business in our country”.

“The IFP will support Minister Tito Mboweni’s approach to navigating these uncharted waters as he balances this Adjustment Budget, but only if he is able to wrest off his opponents, who are politically and ideologically at war with the state coffers.”

Meanwhile, the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (Numsa) announced on Tuesday that it supports the picket by SA Express workers, who are picketing outside the offices of the department of public enterprises.

The union said the workers have not been paid their salaries since February and that the department has failed them by refusing to intervene.

Numsa spokesperson Phakamile Hlubi-Majola said: “Last week when our members were peacefully picketing at their offices demanding answers, DPE had the audacity to go and call the South African Police Services who then responded with violence, they shot at our members with rubber bullets, they released teargas and all our members wanted was a simple explanation as to why their salaries have not been paid and when their salaries will be paid.”

She added that the department of public enterprises was responsible for the collapse of the airline.

(Compiled by Makhosandile Zulu)

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