Bankrupt SAA must stop offering sponsorships worth millions – Pieter Groenewald

FF Plus says air carrier has been kept afloat with taxpayers' money and can't afford to give away R110 million, even in free flights

Bankrupt SAA sponsors national soccer team to the value of R110 million

24 May 2016

The SAA has since 2013 sponsored the Springboks, SA Olympic team, Ms. SA, World Routes, NBA Africa Games and the International Jazz Extravaganza to the value of R83,994 million. The sponsorship of Bafana Bafana which was announced in March of this year, amounts to R110 million over a period of five years.

The minister of finance, Mr. Pravin Gordhan, supplied this information in response to a question of Dr. Pieter Groenewald (MP) of the Freedom Front Plus.

According to the minister the sponsorship will be in the form of value in kind and not capital. In essence it means that that the sponsorship would be free air travel.

It is unacceptable that the bankrupt SAA, which has been kept afloat in the past number of years with billions of rand of taxpayers’ money, is offering sponsorships worth millions of rand, even if it is in the form of free flights, Dr. Pieter Groenewald, the FF Plus’ chief spokesperson on public enterprises, said.

Dr. Groenewald says the free flights do not change anything, as it would have been income for the SAA and could have eased the burden of taxpayers.

An economist of the Free Market Foundation (FMF), Loan Sharpe, said in an interview with Netwerk24 last year that SAA had in the past number of years received financial support from the state totalling somewhere between R14 billion and R45 billion. This support was provided in the form of direct loans which are reflected in the state’s balance sheets, as well as state guarantees.

According to Dr. Groenewald, the offering of sponsorships for sports teams are in principle not wrong, but the institutions should be able to afford it and it should not be a burden to taxpayers. He said it could also justifiable asked why the International Jazz Extravaganza was sponsored, as it is not a national asset.

“The under-performing Bafana Bafana is currently ranked 70th on Fifa’s ranking, and will therefore struggle to gain sponsorships from the private sector. It is not fair and not acceptable that the state and the public sponsors a team who, just like the SAA, is under-performing,” Dr. Groenewald says.

Issued by Pieter Groenewald, FF Plus chief spokesperson: Public enterprises, 24 May 2016