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Mboweni throws lifeline to SAA, SABC and Denel

Finance Minister Tito Mboweni said on Thursday that he will throw a lifeline to South African Airways (SAA), the South African Broadcasting Commission (SABC) and weapons manufacturer Denel, but the bailout should not be seen as a blank cheque.

During his budget vote speech, Mboweni said the three financially stricken state-owned enterprises (SOEs) will be allocated funds once Parliament approves the current departmental appropriations.

Mboweni stressed that government cannot continually bail out the SOEs while other companies in the aviation and broadcasting sectors, who are experiencing the same economic pressure, are able to provide a quality service and turn a profit.

No monetary figures were supplied to any of the parastatals mentioned, nor did he give a figure for the special appropriation which is under debate for the electricity supplier, Eskom.

Recent reports have revealed that Eskom, which has a debt of R420-billion, is only able to sustain itself financially until the end of October.

Denel, who lost R1.7-billion last year, was unable to pay their staff last month until a lender came to their rescue.

SAA, who received a R5-billion bailout last year, has said they require R4-billion to stay up in the current financial year, and SABC have requested R6.8-billion.