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'There has been complete transparency' — Gordhan on SAA, Takatso deal

SAA is in the final stages of acquiring a strategic equity partner.
SAA is in the final stages of acquiring a strategic equity partner.
Image: Bloomberg

Public enterprises minister Pravin Gordhan believes there has been transparency on the SAA deal with the Takatso Consortium despite criticism from some quarters.

The Takatso Consortium is in the process of acquiring a majority 51% stake in the ailing SAA. The deal has, however, come under scrutiny.

There has been concern about whether the government is being open and honest on the acquisition of 51% of SAA by the consortium for R3bn, which would be put towards operational costs of the airline in the next two years. The valuation of SAA assets at R3bn and a notional purchase price of R51, which the consortium will only pay once the airline starts being profitable, were other issues raised by concerned parties.

Gordhan classified the concerns as efforts to undermine the mission to fix SAA which was damaged at the height of state capture.

“Let me assure the public, and honourable members, that there has been absolute transparency in this process and that all the necessary legal processes were complied with, notwithstanding the regrettable efforts by many to sabotage or undermine what is an important project in terms of recovering an SOE from the damage caused by state capture.”

He said there was significant progress made at SAA which has seen the airline taking to the skies again after being placed under administration.

“The airline has begun to operate from September 2021 and there are various routes both domestically and across the African continent that are being pursued.

Let me assure the public ... that there has been absolute transparency in this process and that all the necessary legal processes were complied with notwithstanding the regrettable efforts by many to sabotage or undermine what is an important project in terms of recovering an SOE from the damage caused by state capture
Pravin Gordhan, Public entrerprises minister

“There are few regulatory processes that need to be concluded before an injection of R3bn working capital by the strategic equity partner takes place and the state is able to consolidate its golden share.”

Gordhan also told parliament about the work being done to fix other SOEs including Eskom, SAA, Denel and others.

This included enhancing the governance and integrity of SOEs at all levels, including in the boards, as well as introducing a new ownership model which will limit the possibility of another state capture.

The government was also working on implementing recommendations by the state capture commission.

Some of the work also had to do with focusing on operational improvements and efficiency of SOEs, improving their financial resilience, reinventing their business models and strategies, building a professional and competent staff base and “actively combat corruption and disruption, whether from within SOEs or from counter-revolutionary quarters/criminals outside SOEs”.

“In this latter context, this morning I heard that the Hendrina power station has been subjected to another act of sabotage. Only insiders could have carried out this crime,” Gordhan said.

He said this was one of the factors driving the announcement by Eskom that it would implement load-shedding this weekend starting at 5pm on Friday.

TimesLIVE

 


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