Genevieve Quintal and Carol Paton offered a characteristically accurate and concise summary of the DA’s effort to stop a secret bailout of SAA using finance minister Tito Mboweni's “emergency” powers under the Public Finance Management Act (“DA may be too late as it backtracks on SAA case”, July 20).

However, the headline was inaccurate, describing as a “backtrack” the DA’s decision to remove its case from the urgent roll and move it to the ordinary court roll. This move was made possible after Mboweni offered, belatedly, a categorical commitment that no decision had been made to use these emergency powers, and that no decision was “imminent”. This means the DA has achieved its immediate goal of preventing this bailout from happening secretly, behind the scenes, as happened previously when former minister Malusi Gigaba used his “emergency powers” under Section 16 of the act.

We had sought this commitment from the minister in two letters last week, and his failure to respond showed bad faith. We have retained our application on the normal court roll, should the need arise in future to prevent the minister using section 16 for the same purpose. The DA is resolute that it would be wrong to bail out SAA once again, at public expense, while millions of people face such hardship. There are so many more urgent needs right now.

We will oppose any publicly funded bailout of SAA, whether through direct cash, government-guaranteed loans or an attempt to abuse pension funds. Mboweni should do the right thing and refuse any government financial support for SAA.

Geordin Hill-Lewis, MP, DA finance spokesperson

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