Inquiry: Barbara Hogan was taken aback by rumours of SAA’s Mumbai route closure

Hogan says in early June 2010 her advisor informed her that she received information that SAA intended to terminate its SA-Mumbai route.

FILE: A video screengrab of former Public Enterprises Minister Barbara Hogan appearing at the Zondo Commission of Inquiry into state capture on 13 November 2018.

JOHANNESBURG - Former Public Enterprises Minister Barbara Hogan has told the state capture commission she was shocked when she heard rumours that the South African Airways (SAA) flight route to Mumbai would be dropped, saying it was one of the least loss-making routes and was servicing a rapidly growing tourism and business relationship between South Africa and India.

Former African National Congress MP Vytjie Mentor previously told the commission that she was offered Hogan's job as public enterprises minister by the Guptas who she claims wanted her to drop the SAA flight route to India in favour of the family's airline.

Hogan says in early June 2010 she was part of an official state visit to India accompanying then President Jacob Zuma when her advisor informed her that she received information that SAA intended to terminate its SA-Mumbai route.

She says she was taken aback.

“Because SAA had specifically opened up that route to service a rapidly growing business relationship, the Mumbai route was the least loss-making route.”

She says she then sent a text message to then SAA board chair Cheryl Carolus for clarity.

“And she said ‘no, we will not be terminating the Mumbai route'.”

Hogan has suggested that while still in India, the Jet Airways CEO tried to lobby her to drop the route, but she told him she has nothing to say to him and that he must speak to the SAA board.

(Edited by Thapelo Lekabe)