Government’s plans to sell a stake in SAA to Takatso was announced after the airline was forced into business rescue in December 2019. The business rescue plan was subsequently approved by creditors on 24 July 2020.
With the airline having exited the business rescue process in April last year, Takatso is expected to pump R3 billion in working capital to the “new” SAA over the next two years.
The deal between the Department of Public Enterprises (DPE) and Takatso will see the consortium acquire 51% of SAA after completion of a due diligence.
But EFF leader Julius Malema has spoken out against the sale of the state airline.
Commenting on the matter during a media briefing on Monday, Malema suggested that the sale of SAA was part of a plan by government to privatise all the SOEs in the country.
“The current South African government had already started the dangerous and evidently unsustainable path of privatisation of state-owned companies. We condemn and oppose the disposal of South African Airways, because its disposal is not justifiable and corrupt,” he said.
“There is absolutely no rationality on selling off an airline for R51 to people who are linked to and controlled by the white capitalist establishment.
“We will do everything in our power to reverse the sale of SAA because it is evident that all state-owned companies will first be made to not function well, and thereafter given for free to the white capitalist establishment.”Julius Malema
The EFF leader further warned of potential litigation against the sale.
“We have referred the matter to our lawyers because we believe strongly that we should take this matter to court and make sure that this deal is reversed by our deal courts.
“You can’t sell an airline for R51. Not even a single plane costs R51 or a part of it. We are going to reverse the deal. SAA should not be for sale,” Malema said.
READ MORE: What to expect from the ‘new SAA’
Takatso, formed by investor firm Harith General Partners and Global Aviation, agreed to take control of SAA for a notional sum of about R51, Bloomberg reported, in return for spending commitments and responsibility for operations.
Last week, Public Enterprises Minister Gordhan said during a Standing Committee on Public Accounts (Scopa) meeting that the Takatso deal depends on government providing R3.5 billion required to complete SAA’s business rescue plan rollout.
Former Finance Minister Tito Mboweni only allocated SAA R10.5 billion rather than the R14 billion as requested by the DPE.
Takatso will be totally responsible for the operation of the “new” SAA, and seems to have a fairly free hand in determining the future of the airline.
The agreement makes provision for certain absolute rights, in that government has veto rights in some decisions.