What does the future hold for SAA?

West African Connectivity
2 min read

Following finance minister Tito Mboweni’s suggestion last week that South African Airways should be closed down, several other parties, including President Cyril Ramaphosa, have since spoken out about the current situation and suggested future of the airline.

In an article published by Business Day on 7 November, it was reported that the president said that shutting SAA could destabilise other SOEs. To listen to the full article click here

Public enterprises minister, Pravin Gordan was quoted in a separate article by Business Day as saying that for SAA to become a viable business, it needs to be clear of the corruption that has plagued the airline for years.

‘‘We were reappointed to government toward the end of February. So, eight months gone nobody is coming forward to say ‘I know who is corrupt at SAA’,’’ minister Gordhan said to SAA staff gathered at its offices in Kempton Park on 05 November.

Meanwhile, the Federation of Unions of South Africa (Fedusa) said that staff morale is low at South African Airways (SAA) due to the political fights over the airline’s future.

The federation’s Dennis George said that if Mboweni’s comments materialise, it will cause a massive political implosion. He added that Gordhan is planning to meet with the airline’s pilots at the end of the week to give them an opportunity to raise any concerns with him directly.

SAA CEO Vuyani Jarana explained that Mboweni’s comments about closing the airline have created panic. In an interview with Talk Radio 702, Jarana said that the statement has had negative consequences, with some passengers cancelling trips.

“It’s important that we get our messaging right,” Jarana said, adding that previously unprofitable domestic and regional routes are now making money — except for Entebbe in Uganda.

In a statement, Shadow Deputy Minister of Finance Alf Lees said that the DA has submitted an urgent question to Gordhan with regards to Government’s plans to shut down SAA. The Minister is due to reply to all oral questions in Parliament on Wednesday the 14th of November 2018. The DA wants Gordhan to use this opportunity to address the “confusion surrounding the future of the ailing national carrier”.