Pravin Gordhan transnet cyber attack

Photo: GCIS

Pravin Gordhan accused of ‘defying the law’ by giving billions to SAA

Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan has been embroiled in a fresh scandal on Friday, after he was accused of illegally transferring funds to SAA.

Pravin Gordhan transnet cyber attack

Photo: GCIS

The DA is set to raise a complaint with the Auditor-General of SA. The party state they were informed that Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan tried to bypass the law of the National Assembly – in a bid to get the ball rolling on the multi-billion rand bailout of South African Airways (SAA). The claims are yet to be independently verified, however.

Pravin Gordhan facing ‘illegal payment’ allegations

Alf Lees, a representative of the opposition party for SCOPA, wants the matter investigated immediately. On Friday, he outlined the nature of the grievance raised against Pravin Gordhan, who is accused of desperately trying to funnel funds into SAA without gaining the necessary Parliamentary approval first:

  • It’s understood that SAA has struggled to secure ‘bridge finance’ from banks and other creditors.
  • This, allegedly, pushed Pravin Gordhan to seek legal advice on raising as much as R3bn elsewhere for an ‘early payment’.
  • Up to R1.5bn of this amount has apparently been authorised for transfer ‘prematurely’ by Gordhan.
  • The developments have emerged as the airline becomes almost solely reliant on a promised R10.5bn bailout.
  • The DA says they will refer this alleged premature payment to the Auditor-General of South Africa.

Is SAA being given bailout funds prematurely?

Lees is concerned that Minister Gordhan may have ‘taken the law into his own hands’ on this occasion, and should the accusations prove to be truthful, the DA would seek to label any monies already pumped into SAA as ‘illegal funds’.

“The Minister of Public Enterprises, Pravin Gordhan, has seemingly taken the law into his own hands and authorised the payment of R1.5 billion, of the proposed R10.5 billion taxpayer bailout to South African Airways (SAA), even before the bailout has been approved by Parliament. Any portion paid before this approval must be ruled illegal.”

“It cannot be that the sovereignty of Parliament to determine the appropriation of funds can simply be ignored and money spent at the whim of an ANC Minister. Once paid to SAA there can be no doubt that it will be impossible to recover this money from the bankrupt airline even if Parliament does the right thing and fails to appropriate this immoral bailout.”

Alf Lees