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CAPE TOWN - Pravin Gordhan, the Minister of Public Enterprises announced on Thursday that South African Airways (SAA), SA Express and Mango are to merge. 

“Bringing the airlines together and rationalising their routes are important. Rationalising the kind of aircraft needed at a particular time and day – that’s the experience we’re beginning to learn from airlines around the world,” he said.

“It’s that synergy and savings. Our net guess is that by putting the airlines together, we can go through a transition period where there are going to be difficulties.

“If you have something dysfunctional and (you) try to sell it, you will get little for it. The real challenge is putting the right people in the right places both on boards and management teams, and having the right oversight,” he said.

Additionally, Gordhan announced the appointment of a new SA Express board, chaired by Mmakeaya Magoro Tryphosa Ramano. 

A briefing by South African Airways (SAA) to Parliament's finance committee was called off on Wednesday after MPs from the African National Congress (ANC) and the Democratic Alliance (DA) clashed on whether the meeting should be closed to the public.

Acting finance committee chairwoman Thandi Tobias stopped SAA executives from presenting its fourth-quarter results, saying a decision was taken at the last meeting of the committee that the meeting be closed, something the DA said never happened.

Additionally, SAA was said to require a R5bn ($399m) cash injection in the current financial year to help it meet its financial obligations, a senior treasury official said on Tuesday.

National Treasury director-general Dondo Mogajane told Parliament the cash injection could however not come from government, which has so far pumped R20 billion into the firm.

Mogajane said treasury was willing to consider selling a stake in the airliner to a private equity partner. 

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