Cape Town – The National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (NUMSA) has expressed strong criticism towards Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan for his refusal to share documents with Parliament concerning the sale of South African Airways (SAA).
The controversy stems from allegations of irregularities in the sale of a majority stake in SAA to the Tak
atso Consortium, as claimed by former director-general Kgathatso Tlhakudi. While the parliamentary public enterprises portfolio committee is currently conducting an investigation into these claims, Minister Gordhan has denied any allegations of opacity or unfairness in the transaction process.
As reported by EWN, NUMSA has accused Gordhan of mishandling state-owned enterprises, specifically pointing to what they describe as a secretive and problematic sale of SAA, terming it “State Capture 2.0”. The union is particularly concerned about the sale price of SAA, which they claim was a mere R51, and are demanding comprehensive details about the deal.
“Numsa is vindicated because Gordhan has proven that we were right about him all along. Gordhan is presiding over State Capture 2.0 through the sale of SAA. The airline was sold for R51 in a process that remains shrouded in secrecy, even though this is a state-owned entity, which means that, as the public, we have every right to demand and receive detailed information on this deal,” NUMSA’s spokesperson Phakamile-Hlubi Majola was quoted in the report.
In response, the Department of Public Enterprises (DPE) issued a statement last week, emphasizing the significance of Parliament’s role in such matters. The DPE strongly refuted allegations of non-cooperation with the Portfolio Committee in its review of the SAA transaction.
“The Department of Public Enterprises has done everything according to the prescripts of the law. There is no information that is within our legal remit to provide on the SAA transaction that the DPE has withheld from Parliament. All our engagements with the Portfolio Committee attest our commitment to cooperate fully on every aspect of the work,” the DPE stated.
However, the portfolio committee on public enterprises has indicated that their investigation has been hindered due to Minister Gordhan’s alleged failure to cooperate and provide necessary documents, as reported by IOL.
This situation raises significant questions about transparency and accountability in the handling of state-owned enterprises, particularly in high-stake transactions such as the sale of national carriers. The ongoing investigation by the parliamentary committee is expected to shed more light on these concerns, as it seeks to unravel the complexities surrounding the sale of South African Airways.
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