South African Airways should be kept as national airline, ANC says
JOHANNESBURG - South African Airways (SAA) should be retained as a national airline but requires substantial restructuring, the governing African National Congress (ANC) party’s Secretary General Ace Magashule said on Wednesday.
SAA is running short of cash after the government failed to provide 2 billion rand ($138 million) of emergency funding it promised when the airline entered a form of bankruptcy protection last month.
“We emphasise at this point that SAA should be retained as a national airline, which will require substantial restructuring. The Cabinet should take the operational decisions needed to achieve this,” Magashule told reporters, during a briefing on a recent meeting of ANC leaders.
The state-owned airline said on Tuesday that it had cancelled more than 20 domestic flights between its Johannesburg hub and Cape Town and Durban this week, and 10 international flights to and from Munich, in an effort to save cash.
SAA is one of several South African state entities, including power company Eskom, mired in financial crisis after nearly a decade of mismanagement.
The state companies’ financial problems are seen as one of the biggest threats to Africa’s most industrialised economy and have helped push the country’s credit rating to the brink of junk status.
On Sunday, the public enterprises ministry said it was still talking with the National Treasury to raise funds for SAA.