The government will sell 51 percent of South African Airways (SAA) to Takatso Consortium, which comprises Harith General Practitioners, an investor in African infrastructure and airports, and airline management company Global Airways.
Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan made the announcement at a press briefing on Friday (11 June).
He emphasised that the selected strategic equity partner is 51 percent black-owned and South African-based. The government will retain 49 percent ownership of the airline.
“The objective of bringing in an equity partner to SAA is to augment it with the required technical, financial and operational expertise to ensure a sustainable, agile and viable South African airline,” Gordhan said.
“SAA will contribute to the venture, the brand, the flag, landing slots, route licences, lounges and a successful loyalty program (Voyager). With this partnership, we believe we are closer to achieving the important objective of having a sustainable national airline.
“The new SAA will not be dependent on the fiscus. It will be agile enough to cope with the current uncertainty, and improvement, in global travel.”
Govt partnership with Takatso Consortium
Under the partnership, Takatso Consortium will provide the required capital, which is expected to be around R3 billion. The new SAA’s board seats will follow the equity interests of the shareholders.
The management team will “take into account South Africa’s national demographics and transformation agenda,” while the government will have a “golden share” of 33 percent of SAA’s voting rights and certain areas of national interest.
SAA will also prioritise training and promotion of black pilots and its board chairperson and majority of executive team will be South Africans.
The government will nevertheless still be responsible for all historical liabilities. The government and consortium will carry out a joint assessment of the future of SAA’s liabilities.
“A longer-term, strategic objective is to create a listed vehicle/Initial Public Offering (IPO) for the airline in which all South Africans will have the opportunity to participate in its success,” Gordhan said.
The troubled airline is emerging from business rescue after years of mismanagement and reliance on state bailouts.
Evidence presented at the state capture commission of inquiry suggests that it may have also been the victim of alleged state capture machinations.