Parliament must approve the SAA/Takatso deal

The DA will write to the Minister of Public Enterprises, Pravin Gordhan, to request that he tables the proposed contract that will transfer 51% of SAA’s shares to the Takatso consortium before Parliament for full oversight, transparency and inputs before the agreement is finalised.

After some eight months since Minister Gordhan made the announcement that 51% of SAA shares would be handed over to Takatso debt free, and that the consortium would provide R3 billion in working capital over a three-year period, an agreement between the government and Takatso has apparently finally been finalised. This was announced in a statement by the Presidency on Thursday.

During the eight months Minister Gordhan put Mango, the SAA-owned low-cost airline, into business rescue and by withholding the R700 million bailout meant for Mango ensured Mango’s complete collapse. Takatso consortium partner, Global Airways, operates LIFT, low-cost airline, which was in direct competition with SAA’s Mango airline.  The continued existence of Mango as a SAA subsidiary in direct competition with LIFT would undoubtedly not have been an attractive proposition to Takatso consortium member, Global Airways.

The continued existence of Mango may also have been a stumbling block for the SAA/Takatso deal with the Competition Board. It seems highly probable that the seemingly deliberate moves by Minister Gordhan to collapse Mango were a clear effort to make the SAA deal acceptable to Takatso and in particular, Global Airways.

After the South African taxpayer has been forced by the ANC through Parliament to waste over R30 billion in keeping the SAA vanity project flying, it is inconceivable that Minister Gordhan and the ANC can give away 51% of the shares in a liability-free SAA to Takatso for absolutely free! There must surely be accountability to Parliament?