Numsa slams Tito Mboweni’s ‘extremely reckless’ tweets on the future of SAA

The National Union of Metalworkers of SA (Numsa) has slammed finance minister Tito Mboweni for his tweets on the future of SAA‚ labelling them “extremely reckless”.

Mboweni on Sunday asked his followers what the government should do with SAA and if the country needed a national airline.

“Do we need a national airline? Maybe that’s the question? Or‚ is the airline industry market going to solve the question!? In economics‚ they say that the ‘market will clear’ the problem! Will it?

“Economic agents: investors‚ businesses‚ consumers‚ buyers and sellers of goods‚ farmers‚ the market‚ etc‚ need policy certainty. Fundamentally‚ I invest because I will harvest in X years in the forward market. Confidence. In other words‚ where there is a market gap‚ a vacuum in a market‚ an airline will emerge to fill the gap! Will it!? Airlink? Or a restructured SAA?” he tweeted.

Mboweni’s tweets come just weeks after he allocated R10.5bn for SAA during his medium-term budget policy statement (MTBPS) in parliament.

Speaking on Jacaranda FM on Monday‚ Numsa spokesperson Phakamile Hlubi-Majola said Mboweni’s tweets were insensitive‚ given his responsibility as a minister.

“We are truly shocked to see the minister of finance tweeting in the way that he is tweeting about SAA. We believe that it is extremely reckless. We believe that he has the audacity to indulge himself on social media networks when he knows he has the responsibility as a minister.”

She claimed Mboweni was responsible for the state SAA finds itself in.

“While he can complain about the amount and the wastage that went to SAA‚ he must know as the finance minister [he] is actually responsible for the state SAA finds itself in.”

Responding on Twitter‚ the union also told Mboweni that he had no right asking questions about SAA’s future.

“Your job as finance minister and shareholder is to ensure the viability of the airline as its existence is protected by the SAA Act. As you recklessly tweet this‚ workers at SAA have still not been paid their salaries for eight months and counting‚” said the union.

“Your ministry failed to act to implement a turnaround strategy for the airline. It failed to take steps to stem the corruption exposed in the procurement department of SAA AND SA Express. You have the audacity to tweet and question the future of SAA while workers are starving. Shame on you.”

The minister has stood firm‚ saying people who are afraid of engaging in public debate must stay away from politics.
Many echoed Numsa’s statement‚ saying that Mboweni was responsible for SAA and should not be asking the public.

Here is a snapshot of what some people had to say:

Source: ARENA Holdings.