Premier’s Italian ‘loan’ angers DA in ‘struggling’ Mpumalanga

2015-05-19 18:02
Mpumalanga Premier David Mabuza

Mpumalanga Premier David Mabuza (Adele du Toit)

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Mpumalanga safety and security MEC Vusi Shongwe has defended Premier David Mabuza against criticisms about a R10 billion capital investment he acquired from Italy.

Mabuza led a delegation to Italy last week and claimed on his return that an investment company, SACE, had agreed to invest the money in the province to revamp five hospitals and build schools in the Bushbuckridge area.

The hospitals earmarked for renovation were Mapulaneng (Acornhoek), Middelburg, Bethal, Mmametlake (Hammanskraal) and Ermelo.

He said the province would lease the buildings from SACE and repay the money over time.

The Democratic Alliance (DA) warned that this was nothing more than an “off-shore loan”.

“The R10 billion is in fact not an investment but a major loan which will have to be paid back by Mpumalanga’s already struggling economy,” complained DA legislature member, Anthony Benadie.

“It is concerning that Premier Mabuza had to travel all the way to Italy to secure a loan. Are there no institutions in South Africa that are willing to grant him the same loan while strengthening our country’s economy and creating and maintaining jobs in South Africa? All loan interest and costs will now leave South Africa to the benefit of a foreign country,” Benadie added.

Shongwe said Mabuza had gone to Italy because he was concerned about alleviating poverty among blacks.

“We took back South Africa from the apartheid government with debt, which we’re still paying. The premier is concerned about the poor and the majority of those people are black,” Shongwe said.

SACE’s spokesperson, Valeria Meuti, denied that the organisation had committed to an amount and said the investment was still being considered.

“SACE has strong long-standing international relations with key stakeholders in high potential markets, like South Africa. SACE was glad to receive the delegation and is carefully evaluating [the opportunity]. Only [if a deal is] finalised, would SACE ... disclose more details,” Meuti responded by email.
Read more on:    vusi shongwe  |  david mabuza  |  mpumalanga

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