- Finance Minister Tito Mboweni says allegations by the DA that Treasury plans to fund SAA's business rescue process should be backed by evidence.
- Mboweni tweeted that the DA's urgent application for an interdict against Treasury using an emergency funding mechanism for SAA might be considered "trivial" by the courts.
- The DA's Geordin Hill-Lewis, in turn, wants Mboweni to categorically state that public money will not be used to fund the SAA rescue process.
Finance Minister Tito Mboweni has hit back at claims by the DA that National Treasury plans to extend a bailout to help fund the business rescue process of flag carrier South African Airways.
This after the main opposition party announced on Friday that it had filed an urgent interdict application in the Gauteng High Court in Pretoria to prevent any money for SAA coming from "emergency" funding, by means of a provision in the Public Finance Management Act.
In response Mboweni tweeted to the party's spokesperson on finance, Geordin Hill-Lewis, that the application might be a "trivial" issue that would waste the court's time.
"Courts are very important, powerful, respected and central institutions with decorum over the ages. They have developed doctrines such as = 'Do not waste the court's time with trivial/small issues.' So the @geordinhl SAA interdict might fall under this. But we meet in court. Right?" the tweet read.
He added that the bailout did not exist and that the DA would have to provide "evidence" for the allegation.
"But Chief @geordinhl, this bailout thing you talk about does not exist. It only exists in your mind. Where is the evidence for this allegation.(sic) I do not know about this," the tweet read.
In response, Hill-Lewis asked Mboweni to categorically state that no public money would be used for the rescue process.
On Thursday, the Department of Public Enterprises and Treasury provided to SAA business rescue practitioners a letter of commitment to "mobilise" funding for the rescue plan. The letter of commitment did not indicate where the funding would be sourced from, Fin24 previously reported.
The rescue plan requires about R10.3 billion in funding.
This is apart from government-guaranteed loans from four private banks totalling R16.4 billion, these funds have been allocated to the entity in prior budgets and are intended to be paid over a three-year period.
Over the past 10 years SAA has been bailed out with about R30 billion.
- Additional reporting by Carin Smith