Govt’s immediate priority is to stabilise SAA - Ramaphosa

In a written reply to a parliamentary question, the president says it's government's intention to turn the airline into one that is financially and operationally sustainable.

FILE: President Cyril Ramaphosa. Picture: @PresidencyZA/Twitter

JOHANNESBURG - President Cyril Ramaphosa says there's an agreement within the executive that the immediate priority for government is to stabilise South African Airways (SAA).

In a written reply to a parliamentary question from the Democratic Alliance (DA), Ramaphosa says it is government's intention to turn the airline into one that is financially and operationally sustainable.

The DA had asked Ramaphosa whether he or any person in his office had communicated directly or indirectly with Finance Minister Tito Mboweni about government’s position on the future of the airline.

Soon after taking office, Mboweni said he believed SAA should be shut down.

Ramaphosa's reply comes in a week when it's been reported that Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan has pleaded with SAA CEO Vuyani Jarana to stay in his post.

It's believed Jarana wrote to the board, saying he planned to step down unless he was assured of the airline's backing.

(Edited by Thapelo Lekabe)