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'Gordhan must hold Nene’s line on SAA/Airbus deal'

The Helen Suzman Foundation wants Gordhan to confirm in writing he’ll maintain Nene’s line on the Airbus deal.

South African Airways plane. Picture: Facebook.

CAPE TOWN - The Helen Suzman Foundation is considering legal action to ensure the National Treasury sticks to axed Finance Minister Nhlanhla Nene's decision not to allow South African Airways (SAA) to revise a multibillion rand deal with Airbus.

The foundation has written to new Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan, asking him to spell out in writing his verbal undertaking to maintain tight fiscal discipline and to hold Nene's line on the Airbus transaction.

Gordhan has been brought up to speed on the situation at SAA, Treasury spokesperson Phumza Macanda has confirmed.

Also waiting to hear from Gordhan is the Helen Suzman Foundation, which wants written confirmation that he'll hold Nene's line on the Airbus deal.

The foundation's Kameel Premhid says, "We're hopeful he's going to make the same undertakings to us in writing that he's made publicly when addressing the press."

The Presidency has denied speculation that one of the reasons for Nene's sacking was his decision not to allow the restructuring of SAA's deal with Airbus.

MEDIA ALLOWED TO PUBLISH SAA'S INTERNAL MEMO

Meanwhile, media agencies have hailed a High Court's ruling as a victory now that they are allowed to publish SAA's internal memo.

Three weeks ago, the national carrier was granted an interim order preventing the Business Day newspaper others from publishing the memo, which says SAA should urgently apply for business rescue.

Yesterday, the High Court in Johannesburg set aside the court interdict, even though SAA argued it was legal privilege.

Moneyweb editor Ryk van Niekerk says the document had been in the public domain for several days.

"Obviously that document is in the public's interest. SAA is in serious financial difficulty and that document clearly states that if the amended Airbus financial deal went through, the company would have gone bust."