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Minister Pravin Gordhan announces termination of SAA-Takatso deal amid controversy

[Photo: M&G]

Azra Hoosen |
18 March 2024 | 12:30 CAT
2 min read

In a sudden and controversial move, outgoing Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan announced the termination of the deal, which would have seen the Takatso group holding the majority share of South African Airways (SAA).

Minister Gordhan reportedly terminated negotiations for the sale of a 51% stake in South African Airways (SAA) to the Takatso Consortium due to a disagreement on revised transaction terms.

This decision follows calls for an investigation into the transaction by Numsa, the EFF, the SACP, and the ATM. Initially signed in February 2022, the deal was subject to renegotiation, but Takatso deemed the revised terms no longer favourable.

Gordhan emphasised the need to ensure SAA’s growth and sustainability without reliance on government bailouts.

This announcement has raised questions about the future of the struggling airline and its ability to sustain itself in the coming year, particularly as it excludes any further government bailouts.

In an interview with Radio Islam, Bongani Baloyi, the leader of the Xiluva political party, expressed their belief that the deal was flawed from the outset but inevitable. He emphasised the importance of transparency in public institutions and highlighted the need for disclosure of key details concerning how this partner was chosen and how the transaction would proceed.

“You cannot have Pravin Gordhan, who has been operating as if he is the government himself, continue with these things,” he said.

Baloyi highlighted that the new government would disclose details of the SAA-Takatso deal, intending to showcase Minister Gordhan’s legacy for public scrutiny.

“We have been calling for Pravin to be held accountable for the dismal performance of SOEs under his direct supervision and control. SAA is just one of the many struggling SOEs,” he added.

Baloyi asserts that when we hold people accountable, we must never ignore the political principles that are a big part of the problem.

“Gordhan is a big part of the problem because he is in national leadership from a political perspective,” he said.

Baloyi reiterated that Gordhan must be subject to oversight and accountability. The terms of this deal must be made a public record, safeguarding the SAA’s intellectual property.

During a media briefing, Gordhan reassured state-owned airline employees that their jobs are safe despite the deal’s collapse.

LISTEN to the full interview with Mufti Y. Moosagie and Bongani Baloyi, the leader of the Xiluva political party, here.



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