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SA Government gives up its majority ownership of SAA

The South African government will now own 49% of theSouth African (SAA) airline and the consortium, Dikatso Consortium will own 51%. This was announced by Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan, the current shareholder representative of SAA on Friday. The consortium will initially inject more than R3-billion into SAA.

Minister Gordhan outlined that the funds will be allocated to the airline’s working capital and help the restart of its flight operations. The Public Enterprises department has identified two investors that are set to acquire a majority shareholding in SAA, meaning that the government will hold a minority share.

This marks a step-change in the government’s approach to the ownership of woes state-owned entities. Gordhan stated that SAA will no longer depend on taxpayer-funded bailouts for survival. 

“The objective of the consortium is to relaunch a viable and scalable airline that is not dependent on the fiscus,” Gordhan said at a media briefing.

SAA has been grounded since March 2020, recently emerged from a 17-month business rescue process. Its interim management and board took control of the airline and are planning to restart domestic flight operations in July or August 2021. 

The two investors are part of a consortium, which includes Global Airways, a local jet-leasing company, and Harith General Partners. Harith also owns Lanseria International Airport in Gauteng. The consortium, which includes well-known figures in South Africa’s aviation industry, will be chaired by Harith CEO Tshepo Mahloele and Gidon Novick.

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