Stamp of disapproval: keep ‘tough love’ for those who can afford ...

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Stamp of disapproval: keep ‘tough love’ for those who can afford it

Clamping down on exorbitant bailouts for SOEs is all very well, but what about those who depend on these institutions?

Columnist

Perhaps the SA Post Office’s ransom note to finance minister Enoch Godongwana pleading for an R8bn bailout was held up at one of its black-hole mail-clearing centres, not reaching him in time for his budget declaration of no more bailouts for state-owned entities. “Tough love’’ is what they can look forward to in future; the cheque isn’t in the post this time.

He didn’t say “read my lips’’, which is just as well because it would have made the inevitable climbdown even harder, when it comes. This week Sapo, in its weight division, shot the lights out of the already high levels set for SOE begging-bowl requests, with its R8bn proposal to pay off creditors. Not the least of these is the medical aid society that has not been paid contributions made by Sapo’s 16,000 employees. The same employees consume 70% of the parastatal’s revenue. It’s insolvent, bankrupt, broken.

Communications minister Khumbudzo Ntshavheni has already said she’s “not happy’’ with the minister’s “tough love’’, and there’ll be talks with National Treasury to sort out more cosy terms of engagement...

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