SAA runs up R1.2bn operating loss - Natasha Michael

DA MP says national carrier is proving to be nothing more than a drain on the budget

Minister Gigaba must account for SAA's R1,2 billion operating loss 

The long awaited South African Airways' (SAA) 2012/13 annual report has finally been tabled in Parliament and, as expected the findings are deeply concerning. The report shows that SAA has managed to rack up a R1, 2 billion operating loss that year.

The DA calls on the Minister of Finance, Pravin Gordhan, to announce during his Budget Speech tomorrow that no further bailouts will be extended to SAA from the public purse, and that steps will be taken to privatise this state entity. This company provides no value for money for the South African tax payer, and is proving to be nothing more than a drain on our budget.

In the 2012/13 financial year a R5 billion loan guarantee was afforded to SAA bringing taxpayer support to a total of R16 billion over 20 years.

The Annnal Report also reveals tens of millions of rands have been lost due to irregular and wasteful expenditure. This includes:

R33 million that was lost to irregular spending;

R19,9 million that has been lost due to fruitless and wasteful expenditure, four times the amount that was recorded in the last financial year; 

And half a million rand (R556,000) that has been lost due to criminal conduct, including corruption. This is 19 times more than the previous financial year. 

All nine turnaround strategies presented over 13 years by various Ministers of Public Enterprises have yielded little or no results at all. The DA has repeatedly called for the privatisation of SAA but Minister Gigaba and his predecessors have all been too comfortable with burying their heads in the sand.

We challenge Minister Gordhan to commit to spending hard earned tax payers' money on services that will benefit millions instead of perpetually bailing out this state entity without any sustainable plan to turn it around.

Statement issued by Natasha Michael MP, DA Shadow Minister of Public Enterprises, February 25 2014

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