Carol Paton Editor at Large

How much will it cost to close down SAA? Is it R11bn, R47bn or R60bn? The DA has taken issue with the claim by deputy finance minister Mondli Gungubele that it would cost R60bn to close SAA. Gungubele made the comments in parliament six months ago to justify further bailouts for the airline. He said the R60bn would be three times the funding — R21.7bn — SAA has asked from the Treasury for a turnaround plan over three years. Whether it costs more to budget for "the funeral" or "the recovery" of state-owned enterprises (SOEs) is a critical debate in political circles as the government struggles to resurrect companies that have been damaged by mismanagement and looting. Last week’s medium-term budget policy statement allocated less than had been requested to several SOEs, but nonetheless made significant new allocations to SAA, SA Express, Sanral and the SA Post Office. SAA got another R5bn. DA deputy shadow minister for finance Alf Lees says that the department of public enterprises’ ...

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