Experts call for SAA to be semi-privatised following another bailout

Wits Economics lecturer Lumkile Mondi says he is disappointed the bailout has been granted to SAA without certain conditions in place.

FILE: An SAA aircraft. Picture: AFP

CAPE TOWN – Some experts say the latest South African Airways (SAA) bailout gives further substance to the call for the airline to be semi-privatised.

Treasury confirmed over the weekend a further R2.3 billion boost for the cash-strapped national carrier.

The money will be used to repay the airline’s loan to Standard Chartered Bank which is one of its many debts which lapsed at the end of last month.

During February’s budget speech, former Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan had said he’s considering introducing a strategic equity partner to develop a more sustainable and efficient airline.

Wits Economics lecturer Lumkile Mondi says he is disappointed the bailout has been granted to SAA without certain conditions in place.

“One such condition must be the chairperson going and putting an experienced leader and a turn-around plan involving an equity partner.

Mondi and economist Azar Jammine are among the experts calling for a plan to semi-privatise the embattled airline.

“An outside shareholder, they exert significantly more oversight over an SOE and ensures greater accountability and that improves performance.”

Last year, Gordhan approved a R5 billion bailout linked to strict conditions which called for financial stability over the next five years.

(Edited by Leeto M Khoza)