Gigaba talks tough on troubled SAA

Public Enterprises Minister Malusi Gigaba says SAA needs to curb wasteful expenditure.

Public Enterprises Minister Malusi Gigaba. Picture: Sapa

JOHANNESBURG - The task team established to create a turnaround strategy for South African Airways (SAA) has until mid-December to present its plan, Public Enterprises Minister Malusi Gigaba announced on Monday.

Earlier, the embattled national carrier held its Annual General Meeting (AGM) where it was revealed that the airline suffered a loss of R1,3 billion in the past financial year.

Over the last few weeks, the airline's chairperson, CEO, several board members and executives have resigned.

Gigaba said the inability of SAA to continue without government support has forced him to appoint a task team.

He said it is pivotal the airline is stabilised.

The minister also defended government's decision to grant SAA a loan guarantee of R5 billion, prior to the turnaround plan being presented.

"The difficulty is that we would have no airline by now. There were serious financial pressures."

Gigaba was also highly critical of management's failure to curb wasteful expenditure.

"I am pleased to announce that I have approved the AGM motion that the executive directors' remuneration fees be increased by zero percent."

He said it is time SAA begins to repay the country for government's constant support over troubled times.