Gordhan defends decision to privatise SAA

Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan has defended the decision to privatise the struggling national carrier, which he’s previously described as a fiscal drain costing government more than R49 billion in bailouts since 2006 and failing to make a profit since 2011.

FILE: Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan. Picture: Eyewitness News.

JOHANNESBURG - The sale of a 51% stake in South African Airways (SAA) has raised many eyebrows and earned a threat of possible legal action from the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) but Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan said that there were a number of contributing factors, including that the ailing airline was dormant during the pandemic.

Gordhan has defended the decision to privatise the struggling national carrier, which he’s previously described as a fiscal drain costing government more than R49 billion in bailouts since 2006 and failing to make a profit since 2011.

The minister said that the deal to sell a majority stake in SAA to Takatso Consortium remained the better option.

"You have a distressed asset, which you could have disposed of, and there would have been a sale of some of the buildings and so on – all 4,000 odd staff would have lost their jobs and would have walked away with something like R28,000. The alternative was better both for the staff and the airline that we can actually make it work," Gordhan said.