The African Transformation Movement (ATM) reflected on the 2019 budget speech and realised it explicitly demonstrated yet again how the Government continues to pump money into State Owned Entities that continue to bleed its coffers dry.
“Although we noted with excitement some of the good pronouncements that were made especially in the education and the planned revamp of the South African Revenue services, we believe that firm actions should be taken against entities such as Eskom and the South African Airways (SAA) who continue to be bailed out by government year on year without coming up with measures to get them permanently out of the rut”, says Mr Vuyolwethu Zungula, the President of the ATM.
The Minister of Finance, Mr Tito Mboweni explained that Eskom will receive an annual grant of R23bn from taxpayers over the next three years as it restructures into three independent units. On the other hand, in the current year SAA’s government guaranteed debt increased by R6.2bn.
“This is totally absurd and will not be sustainable in the long run”, warns Mr Zungula, advising that the taxpayers’ money needs to be channelled towards critical issues such as education as well as towards creating opportunities for employment of our youth.
He says when looking at Eskom for instance, it is not a secret that during Mr Brian Molefe’s tenure as the CEO of the entity, there was no load shedding. Clearly there is something correct that done during that era – where is the blue print that was used then because we are consuming more that we can produce.
However, the debt within Eskom is also quite a critical issue that requires immediate intervention. It is evident that at least the top 10 municipalities that owe Eskom billions of rands, combined, are under the control of the African National Congress (ANC). This also includes government departments that are continuously defaulting on their payment.
“It would seem the ANC, as the government, is deliberately avoiding previous decisions regarding introduction of pre-paid system to permanently eradicate this issue of non-payment of post-paid consumption”, Mr Zungula observed and advised that indigent policy must also be published to deal with the impoverished, including the full settlement of the outstanding Soweto bill.
“The government, through the finance minister, is irresponsible by simply abandoning the Eskom responsibility and believing that by just pumping money into the entity will take away the problems”, says Mr Zungula.
Mr Zugula also observed the SAA and reasoned that when looking at this other problem child, it is not rocket science that it must be restructured to incorporate SA Express and Mango as previously pronounced by the current CEO. He also said one of SAA’s biggest downfall is its service provider contracts that are in most cases evergreen and allowed to run for more than 10 years. “These must be reviewed especially whose terms exceeds 10 years”.
“The time is now for us to reclaim our moral standing and work towards building a South Africa that we will be proud to raise our coming generations in. Let us continue to #PUTSA1st together”, Mr Zungula concludes.

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