Credit: National Treasury
JOHANNESBURG - The media briefing on national carrier South African Airways is currently underway.

Finance Minister, Nhlanhla Nene and National Treasury senior officials are also in attendance. The briefing follows SAA's earlier annual general meeting. Addressing reporters, Nene said t he new and strengthened SAA Board had re-validated the turnaround strategy and "will now pursue aggressively, with the necessary urgency, the implementation of the strategy".

The national carrier has made a further financial loss of R3.7bn over the nine months to the end of 2017, as revenue has dipped to roughly R1bn below forecasts for that period.

The figures were tabled in a briefing by SAA CEO Vuyani Jarana, chairman JB Magwaza and executives to Parliament's standing committee on finance. They predicted that the airline would stage a return to profitability in four years time as its turnaround strategy starts to reap fruit.

Nene said cutting debt at the national carrier would "be a tall order but it is what we are aiming for. He added that the implementation of strategy was happening immediately, and that "initiatives are underway and that structures are in place."

The Minister further encouraged South Africans to return to supporting the airline, "Those that are not flying SAA please starting flying SAA again, when you identify issues tell us," he said.

He acknowledged that SAA lenders were concerned but they will have to be convinced. "We are going to be monitoring the implementation of the long-term turnaround strategy," he said.

Nene said Treasury was is working with the new Minister of Public Enterprises on a strategy for all State Owned Enterprises (SOEs). "Other than being a drain on the fiscus, we want them to go back to being the drivers of economic growth," he said.