The South African government has provisionally set aside R3.8bn (€193.35m) for SAA for the current fiscal year, announced Public Enterprises Deputy DG, Kgathatso Tlhakudi, during a meeting where the Public Enterprises committees were briefed by the Department of Public Enterprises on its annual performance plan and budget for 2020/21.

SAA’s allocations for 2021-22 and 2022-23 were also announced, at R4.3bn (€218.67m) and R1.7bn (€86.47m) respectively. Tlhakudi said R164m (€8.34m) had been put aside for SA Express for the current fiscal year.

Deputy Minister of the Department of Public Enterprises, Phumulo Masualle, said the state-owned entities had difficulties before the COVID-19 outbreak, so things were now significantly more challenging, especially because both SAA and SAX were not flying as a result of the pandemic. “Six months before the outbreak of the pandemic it was tough. The outbreak has made it even tougher, therefore the budget needs to be looked at in this context,” the Minister said.

The committees expressed concern over the performance of the state-owned carriers, and how this had affected workers who were currently facing retrenchment and not getting salaries, and told the Department to have an effective post-COVID-19 recovery plan in place.

The committees also told the department that, in their view, the appointed business rescue practitioners for SAA and SAX had not provided solutions for the challenges that faced the two airlines.

The Department assured the committees that no buyer had been approached for the sale of the state-owned entities, and no decision had been taken to sell the entities.