What Mboweni didn’t mention – More bailouts for Eskom, SAA
In reaction to Tito Mboweni’s 2021 budget speech, the DA accused the finance minister of leaving out the part of the address that deals with Eskom and SAA allegedly getting more bailouts.
DA claims Eskom, SAA will receive more bailouts
The two state-owned enterprises (SOE) are among the many problems weighing down on the country’s economic emancipation. Already, the national airline’s business rescue practitioners, Daily Maverick reports are in line to receive the second tranch (R7.7 billion) of its R10.5 billion bailout in February.
However, according to the DA’s shadow finance minister Geordin Hill-Lewis, a crucial part left out by Mboweni in Tuesday’s budget speech is the fact that there is another R4.3 billion set aside for SAA’s turnaround plan.
Mboweni, apparently, also forgot to mention that loadshedding-prone Eskom was also in line to receive billions in relief monies. This is despite the fact that Treasury’s Medium-Term Budget Policy Statement proposed a handover of R23 billion to aid the power utility’s woes in 2020/21.
“My biggest concern is that there was a lot that was not in the speech that is in the detail of the budget, that I think was slightly dishonest to leave out. Chief amongst those, we’ve got a R4.3 billion — another bailout — for SAA, Nomphu. We’ve got R31.7 billion for Eskom that wasn’t even in the speech,” Hill-Lewis claimed.
‘A morally indefensible budget’ – the DA’s verdict
These omissions have raised concerns over the government’s priorities, the DA’s shadow minister added. With billions earmarked for the two SOEs which are, in fact, Treasury’s greatest burdens, only a meagre R10 increase has been allocated towards social grants.
But, according to the DA, on a grand scale, the social grants are actually seeing a decrease in government support.
“While he speaks about a R10 increase for social grants – actually if you look at the budget, the social grant is being cut for the first time ever, I’ve never seen that in Parliament in 10 years,” Hill-Lewis said.
The shadow finance minister’s verdict of the budget speech? “it was morally indefensible.”
“It’s an extraordinary budget that I think, actually, kicks poor South Africans when they are down,” he said.