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SAA will be majority owned to a black-owned consortium Takatso as the government has finally found a strategic equity partner for the airline.
Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan announced today the Takatso consortium as the preferred strategic equity partner for SAA after 19 months of uncertainty.
Gordhan said that the government has agreed to Takatso owning a 51% stake of SAA to Takatso.
This is a move that is probably going to raise the ire of workers unions who feared the airline was being privatised after thousands of employees were laid off at the struggling airline.
The government will own 49% as it will now jointly own SAA with the Dikatso consortium, which comprises Harith General Partners and aviation group Global Airways.
Takatso is expected to pump in more than R300 million into relaunching SAA.
Gordhan said the government will “not be putting any more money” into the new airline.
“The objective of the partnership is to re-launch a flexible, agile airline that will not be dependent on the fiscus,” he said.
Gordhan assured the markets that the chairperson of the SAA board will be South African and most board members will be South African, with black pilots being prioritised.
He said there will be an evaluation of SAA’s subsidiaries, Mango, Air Chefs, and SAA Technical, as they still require at least R2.7 billion cash injection as
SAA subsidiaries have been suffering from declining revenue, deferred payments and need restructuring after SAA was placed under business rescue.
Global Airways representative and co-founder of new airline LIFT Gidon Novick said they now had to figure out the routes the airline will want to fly and what planes will be used.
“We want to focus on customers, especially those who have been loyal in the past,” Novick said.