Reports that government could sell off its stake in Telkom to fund SAA’s debt have been slammed.
Yesterday, Treasury confirmed that Finance Minister Malusi Gigabi is in discussions about whether government should sell it’s 39,75% share of Telkom, worth about R14,4-billion, although no decision has been reached.
The Department of Finance has stated categorically that SAA will not be allowed to fail, and that selling it off to private investors is not an option.
Last month, Gigaba outlined a plan to sell off state assets to fund the approximately R10-billion needed to stave off SAA’s creditors. This week, he wrote in a confidential note that the Telkom shareholding fits the bill.
Alf Less, shadow deputy minister of finance, has reacted to the news, calling reports of a possible Telkom sale “deeply disturbing”.
He says government has known about SAA’s problems for years and has already spent R23,3-billion on bail-outs and guarantees.
“Now it appears that Cabinet wants to sell its Telkom shares, a successful company so that government can throw another R10-billion at SAA.”
He suggests that SAA rather be placed in business rescue, stabilised and offered to private equity investors.