No ‘secret meeting’ on possible ‘secret bailout’ of SAA

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The Standing Committee on Finance (SCOF), has unilaterally been scheduled as a closed meeting for a secret briefing by SAA on their latest quarterly report on Wednesday 16 May 2018.

This is deeply concerning, not only because members of the public will apparently be barred from attending, but because a R 5,0 billion secret bailout for SAA might have already taken place, which National Treasury is yet to give clarity to parliament on.

The DA will write to the acting chairperson of SCOF, Thandi Tobias, requesting that she provides documented proof on:

  • who requested that the meeting be a closed meeting?;
  • the reasons given for requesting a closed meeting; and
  • all communications between herself, the committee, SAA and the National Treasury with regards to the decision to have a closed meeting.

In terms of the National Assembly rule 184, meetings of committees are open to the public and media, except when:

(b) the committee or subcommittee is considering a matter which is —

(i) of a private nature that is prejudicial to a particular person,

(ii) protected under parliamentary privilege, or for any other reason privileged in terms of the law, or

(iii) confidential in terms of legislation, the nature of which is such that its confidential treatment is reasonable            and justifiable in an open and democratic society

These exceptions do not appear to apply to the meeting wherein SAA are to brief the SCOF.

DA Members of SCOF were not consulted nor did they agree to the closed meeting as per the requirements of rule 184.

These clandestine manoeuvres to shield SAA from accountability and public scrutiny raise serious questions about the motive behind national Treasury and SAA’s secretive actions, purportedly for a secret bailout. Taxpayers need to know the reasons behind this secrecy, specifically :

  • The particulars of SAA’s status as a going concern;
  • The performance of SAA over the past six months since the new CEO and board were appointed;
  • Whether SAA IS in a worse position than previously portrayed in the public; and
  • Information on the apparent ‘secret R5 billion bailout’?

The DA will not be party to any attempt to bar South Africans from being part of proceedings in their own parliament. Taxpayers need to know how their money is being spent in shoring up an entity such as SAA when it is insolvent and will continue until at least 2021 to trade at losses that will apparently amount to a further R12,0 billion.

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