SAA celebrates 90 years of taking to the sky

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South African Airways (SAA) celebrates 90 years in aviation in the midst of uncertainty and delays regarding the sale of the airline.

SAA was placed under business rescue in December 2019 due to poor financial performance.

According to the Department of Public Enterprises, SAA was removed from the process in April of 2021 after having substantially implemented the business rescue plan and passed both the liquidity and solvency tests.

But the sale of SAA majority stake to Takatso is still to be concluded.

Public Enterprise Minister Pravin Gordhan says SAA has weathered many storms.

The national carrier managed to avoid total collapse due to poor financial management and corruption. However, SAA managed to avoid being liquidated and instead was put under business rescue.

All these was done in the midst of the devastating COVID-19 pandemic.

“We moved away from liquidation and went for business rescue, with all its troubles and that was at the height of the COVID pandemic, you couldn’t meet physically. Lots of arguments and fights with lawyers took place on Zoom. We ultimately prevailed as far as that was concerned, we prevented the sale of the assets and today those assets are going to be an important part of the creative transactions that we want to enter into. SAA like all the other state-owned enterprises relied on bailouts,” says Gordhan.

SAA like all the other state-owned enterprises relied on government bailouts, but Minister Gordhan says the national carrier will no longer need further bailouts to stay afloat.

“We will not be asking for more money. We will generate our own money, which means how you spend money has to be done very carefully. And, if there are still leakages, as they might well be, since we live in a society where people are just looking for opportunities without working hard and making a couple of million for themselves, then ensure that those leaks. catered for in one way or another,” adds Gordhan.

Meanwhile, the share purchase agreement deal between Takatso Aviation and the Department of Public Enterprises is yet to be concluded.

The department says what’s missing to conclude the purchase agreement is the required funds that will only be provided towards the conclusion of the transaction and after obtaining all the necessary regulatory approvals, including the report of the Competition Tribunal.