Gordhan will not be ‘bullied’ into rushing sale of Mango
Earlier this month, the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria compelled Gordhan to decide on the sale of the beleaguered airline within 30 days.
Mango Airlines has been in business rescue for almost two years. Picture: Gallo Images
Minister of Public Enterprises Pravin Gordhan said he will not be “bullied” into rushing the approval of the sale of embattled airline Mango.
This comes after the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria earlier this month compelled Gordhan to decide on the beleaguered airline’s sale within 30 days and if he fails to do so, the sale will go ahead regardless.
Gordhan has reiterated his responsibility to apply the law and the policies that govern the way he dispenses his oversight on state-owned companies (SOCs).
Gordhan, who delayed approval on the sale Mango for almost a year, was described as irrational in the court ruling last week.
In a statement, Gordhan’s spokesperson Ellis Mnyandu said the minister indicated he will not be “cowed to submit to pressure” regarding the business rescue process of Mango Airlines.
“Minister Gordhan said he is studying the judgment and he would proceed on the basis of the legal advice he receives on the matter.”
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Gordhan won’t be bullied
Gordhan said as the executive authority, it is his duty to safeguard the interests of South Africans.
“At no point will I abandon my fiduciary responsibility to ensure that any decision that is taken regarding the future of Mango is consistent with the prescripts of the law and is in the best interest of the public,” said Gordhan.
“The issues around this case evolve around my request for further information from the business rescue practitioner. This is what the Public Finance Management Act (PFMA) requires in order to make a judiciously sound decision. I will not be bullied to act in a manner that will compromise the work of government in this regard.”
Gordhan requested a detailed business plan to assess the consortium’s viability, comprehensive due diligence and foreign ownership details to comply with South African laws from the business rescue practitioner to enable him to make the decision on the PFMA Section 54 (2) application.
“Despite several requests, the minister was not furnished with the requested information. The minister cannot make a decision based on insufficient information,” Mnyandu said.
Mango has been in business rescue for almost two years and in September 2022 began seeking a new owner with earnest. By November, a suitor was identified by business rescue practitioner Sipho Sono and the seemingly arduous process to dispose of Mango began.
Gordhan’s inaction delayed the offloading of Mango just short of a year and could have forced the liquidation of the company instead of a resuscitation. Some industry insiders viewed the minister’s actions as deliberate.
Additional reporting by Hein Kaiser