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SAA to now fall under National Treasury

Minister Jeff Radebe announced that the airline will no longer fall under Public Enterprises.

Picture: FlySAA Facebook page.

JOHANNESBURG - Minister in the Presidency, Jeff Radebe, has announced that South African Airways (SAA) will now fall under National Treasury and not the Department of Public Enterprises.

The minister delivered a post-Cabinet briefing in Pretoria and has emphasised the concern about state-owned entities, including SAA, Eskom and the South African Post Office.

Radebe says Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa has been appointed to deal with a turnaround strategy for these entities.

"These state-owned entities play a critical developmental role within the South African economy. SAA will be transferred from the Department of Public Enterprises to fall under National Treasury. The Presidency will closely monitor the implementation of these turnaround plans."

Today it was confirmed that Eskom has sufficient funds to continue purchasing diesel until the end of January.

But the minister says they are also putting other plans in place, such as accelerating the programme for the substitution of diesel with gas to fire up the diesel power plants.

A technical team will also ensure other interventions are implemented, such as co-generation opportunities.

DIRE FINANCIAL SITUATION

SAA on Wednesday said it was aggressively re-examining its routes that are costing it R1 billion per annum in order to improve the airline's dire financial situation.

Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Nico Bezuidenhout briefed 567 Cape Talk's Kieno Kammies on the airline's 90-day turnaround plan.

"Our process at the moment, given that the role is reconstituted, is to step through all these controls and government steps and saying 'let's see where all the failures exist and correct them'."

In recent years, SAA faced money issues and has been relying on the state to stay afloat.

This has caused the airline to delay releasing financial statements as well as put its annual general meeting on hold.

Although SAA has relied on state funding, Finance Minister Nhlanhla Nene also turned down government grants for the airline.

The airline has given itself a deadline to have implemented a successful turnaround strategy by March next year.

"It's our responsibility to implement this plan, there is no new strategy, this is the old strategy. Implement what you say you are going to implement," says Bezuidenhout.

He says looking into routes that go into India and Asia, it was discovered that the airliner was losing R1 billion per annum.

"We need to very aggressively look at those routes and make changes."

Poor corporate governance is also an area that needs to be re-examined. Two months ago, six SAA board members resigned.

Cabinet later approved the appointment of additional board members.

Bezuidenhout is adamant the new board stands as a united front with the challenge of improving SAA's financial state.

Meanwhile, it's emerged that embattled South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) chairperson Ellen Tshabalala has been excluded from the new Transnet board.

A Parliamentary inquiry recently found her guilty of lying on her CV when applying for the job as SABC chairperson, after a University of South Africa (Unisa) official testified their records disproved her claims.

She did however register, but failed so badly she did not qualify to re-register for one of the courses.

Tshabalala insists Unisa's computer records are unreliable.

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