SAA/Takatso deal should not have happened, say political parties

Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan. Photographer: Leon Lestrade / Independent Newspapers

Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan. Photographer: Leon Lestrade / Independent Newspapers

Published Mar 14, 2024


The Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) says it will engage with the government after Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan announced that the deal between SAA and Takatso Consortium was off.

But political parties said yesterday the deal was mired in controversy from the beginning and had to be scrapped.

Cosatu parliamentary co-ordinator and acting national spokesperson Matthew Parks said they would talk to the government to look at the implications of the announcement.

Gordhan said the deal could not be concluded because new valuations had emerged.

He said during Covid, SAA was valued at R2.4 billion, but after the virus the market conditions changed and new valuations were done.

“The business valuation came out at R1bn and the property valuation at R5.5bn. This meant that there was a net increase in the property by R3.1bn in the value of SAA. The equity value had increased from 0 to R1bn,” said Gordhan.

Parks said they wanted to engage the government on the matter.

“We are concerned by developments at SAA and will be engaging the government on the implications. SAA has seen a positive revival and we need to not only secure but build upon that SAA has great potential as an enabler of tourism, aviation and travel. It’s critical that we maintain the momentum we have seen in rebuilding it,” said Parks.

United Democratic Movement leader Bantu Holomisa said the SAA-Takatso deal was flawed from the start and should not have happened.

He said it was good that in the end that the deal could not be concluded.

DA MPs Mimmy Gondwe and Alf Lees said the deal had been shrouded in secrecy for months, with Gordhan refusing to hand over documents on the sale agreement.

They said the Cabinet and President Cyril Ramaphosa had failed to exercise due diligence before they agreed to the deal.

They too said the sale of SAA should not have happened.

“The taxpayer took on all SAA’s massive liabilities of some R15bn, leaving SAA debt-free with considerable assets, including a respected brand all of which had a likely value that exceeded R7bn. For 51% of this debt-free SAA to be sold for R51 was outrageous and a slap in the face of taxpayers,” said Gondwe and Lees.

They added that they still wanted the government to be held accountable over this.

The portfolio committee on public enterprises had earlier met and it was agreed that it would meet next week to finalise the investigation into allegations of corruption against Gordhan.

Committee chairperson Khaya Magaxa said the committee would meet either on Wednesday or Thursday next week to conclude the probe into Gordhan and hand over the report to the Speaker, Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula.