Did Minister Gordhan authorise an “illegal” payment to SAA?
4 December 2020
The Minister of Public Enterprises, Pravin Gordhan, has seemingly taken the law into his own hands and authorised the payment of R1.5 billion, of the proposed R10.5 billion taxpayer bailout to South African Airways (SAA), even before the bailout has been approved by Parliament.
It seems that commercial banks and other lenders have for once done the right thing and refused to provide bridge finance to SAA. Consequently, in desperation, Minister Gordhan has supposedly forced Finance Minister, Tito Mboweni, to obtain legal advice that an amount of R3 billion of the R10.5 billion can “legally” be paid to SAA before the R10.5 billion is appropriated by Parliament.
It cannot be that the sovereignty of Parliament to determine the appropriation of funds can simply be ignored and money spent at the whim of an ANC Minister. Once paid to SAA there can be no doubt that it will be impossible to recover this money from the bankrupt airline even if Parliament does the right thing and fails to appropriate this immoral bailout.
The DA will refer this alleged premature payment to the Auditor-General of South Africa.
The DA’s position is that any portion of the R10.5 billion bailout paid to SAA before the parliamentary appropriation process has been completed is illegal. We will insist that Ministers Mboweni and Gordhan be held personally accountable for any unauthorised and illegal advance payments to SAA.
Issued by Alf Lees, DA Member of the Standing Committee on Public Accounts, 4 December 2020