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Secret Document Shows Malusi Gigaba May Give SAA R10 Billion Bailout -- DA

DA member Robert Lees says he has a secret document showing the finance minister plans to bail out the national airline by selling government's shares in Telkom.

23/08/2017 17:12 SAST | Updated 23/08/2017 17:12 SAST
Siphiwe Sibeko / Reuters
Passengers board a South African Airways aircraft.

Another South African Airways bailout may be on the cards, with government allegedly planning to fork out R10 billion to help the embattled state-owned carrier.

The revelation was made in Parliament on Wednesday during a question and answer session with Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa.

Democratic Alliance member Robert Lees announced he was in possession of a secret document handed to the executive on Tuesday this week which indicates that finance minister Malusi Gigaba plans to give SAA another bailout amounting to R10 billion.

Read: The ANC-Led Government Is Robbing The Poor To Save SAA

This, Lees said, will primarily be financed by the sale of government's stake in Telkom.

He asked if Ramaphosa supports the "sale of a good asset to save a bad asset" and if cabinet has approved this move.

Fin24 reported that is has reliably learned that Gigaba wants to introduce special legislation to allow for a R10 billion recapitalisation of South African Airways by tabling a Special Appropriations Bill to appropriate additional money to SAA.

It said Gigaba proposed that government dispose of its 39.75 percent shareholding in Telkom, which is currently valued at approximately R14.4 billion, saying the sale of non-core assets is the only viable option to support SAA that will not increase the budget deficit.

To this end, National Treasury intends to table a Special Appropriations Bill proposing a R10 billion appropriation to SAA in the 2017/18 financial year. This amount includes the R2.2 billion that SAA was granted on June 30.

Fin24 said that of the additional R7.79 billion SAA will get, R6.79 billion will be used to repay loans that are maturing on September 30, while the remaining R750 million will be used for working capital.

Ramaphosa immediately sidestepped the question in Parliament, pointing out if Lees has a secret document, and he is not a member of the executive, he "could be charged and go to prison".

"We continue to discuss assets that are owned by government. They may well be strategic assets from time to time or assets that are not strategic. [Lees] should wait, if that proposition comes, then parliament will deal with it," Ramaphosa said.

"It is then that this matter will be addressed. It is a matter that may come or may not come."