By: Collen T Ndobo
The Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) has rejected a bid by the Democratic Alliance (DA) opposing the bailout of the struggling national airline, South African Airways (SAA) in accordance with the commitment to rescue the national carrier by the government.
According to the EFF, the DA ‘s bid is part of its broader parasitic understanding of how to organize the South African economy, through a collapse of State-Owned Enterprises to build economic dependency on the private sector. The EFF also mentioned in a statement that, SAA is one of South Africa strategic assets, and all attempts to rescue the airline must be made, and that countries all over world have invested in their aviation sector and bailed out their national airlines as part of their efforts to combat the effect of COVID-19.
“This has been with an understanding that it is essential for a country to have its own airline in order to be able to conduct domestic travel on its own accord and make immediate interventions to repatriate citizens in a time of crisis,” said the EFF.
The party has urged the Minister of Finance, Tito Mboweni, to practice his prerogative and enact Section 16 of the Public Finance Management Act and provide funding to rescue SAA. “We must never allow the DA to smuggle its reactionary and neo-liberal economic policy perspectives through the collapse of our SOE‘s, in order to introduce companies run by their friends and handlers. We will oppose the DA in court,” they added.
The DA has filed an urgent interdict application at the North Gauteng Division of the High Court. In a statement released on Friday, 17 July 2020, the party said another public bailout of the airline does not meet the definition of an unforeseen emergency and to use this as a pretext to bailout SAA again would be unlawful.
“If Mboweni has already transferred funds to SAA, on the basis of his letter of support, the DA‘s application seeks to interdict use of those funds pending the outcome of the court application. Conversely, if funds have not been disbursed, we seek to interdict any disbursement,” the DA said. The party said that is was committed to the prudent use of public resources to meet the needs of South Africans, especially now that millions have lost their job because of COVID-19. “Bailing out SAA is an ethically indefensible choice given the poverty and hardship so many are facing in the country,” said the party.