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'SAA will not be privatised, it will be turned around'

The airline says it needs at least R13bn over the next five years to keep planes in the sky, prompting repeated calls from the DA for it be sold off.

FILE: Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba. Picture: Reinart Toerien/EWN.

CAPE TOWN - Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba says the national airline will not be privatised.

He’s on Friday told Parliament’s Finance Committee there are several ways South African Airways (SAA) can increase cash flow if it were better managed and it tightened its grip on corruption.

The airline says it needs at least R13 billion over the next five years to keep planes in the sky, prompting repeated calls from the Democratic Alliance (DA) for it be sold off.

Gigaba says the airline is in the process of identifying its non-core assets. But it won’t be sold.

“There will be no privatisation of SAA. It will be turned around and it will come right.”

Gigaba says injecting more of taxpayers’ money into the cash-strapped airline will come with stringent conditions.

“There’s no way we are going to give SAA money for free. All the lapses have to be addressed as part of recapitalisation, not throwing money into a bottomless pit.”

Gigaba says more time is needed to work through the mid-year budget process before details can be revealed on how exactly Treasury will be funding the airline this time around.

(Edited by Zamangwane Shange)

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