SAA equity partnership ‘step in the right direction’, says aviation expert

SAA equity partnership ‘step in the right direction’, says aviation expert

Independent aviation expert Joachim Vermooten has described the privatisation of national airline South African Airways (SAA) as a step in the right direction.


SAA, which was placed under liquidation 19 months ago, has a new majority owner Takatso Consortium, which will own a 51% stake.

Government will now be a minority shareholder with 49% of the business.

Vermooten says the partnership between the government and Takatso Consortium means the private sector will have influence on operations.  

"I am also happy that private sector influence will be heard relating to the operations, although many things have to be sorted out due to the diligence process.

"The two individuals are highly regarded as persons of the private  sector that would assist in converting the operations into a commercial sustainable and successful business.

"It's the first step we still have to see what the final terms are in the agreement and what the operations will be but it is a step in the right direction."

ALSO READ: Govt puts struggling SAA into private hands

However, the news of this new strategic partnership has been met with caution labour unions.

The National Union of Metalworkers South Africa (Numsa) says the department did not inform them of its new strategic equity partner, even though they've requested transparency from government.

Spokesperson Phakamile Hlubi-Majola says the union only learnt of the development through the media.  

"If we are to make a complete break with the past, then transparency is a key factor in ensuring good governance and in ensuring that the same problems which brought down SAA are not repeated,” says Numsa spokesperson Phakamile Hlubi-Majola.

"We have been asking since last year for DPE to be transparent about the process to appoint an equity partner for the sake of the future of SAA, but they refused to disclose. 

"This is important to note because SAA was collapsed by mismanagement and rampant corruption which happened under the watch of DPE and minister Pravin Gordhan." 

The department is currently finalising the terms of the new partnership that will include due diligence processes into the consortium.  

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