Photo: Simphiwe Mbokazi/African News Agency (ANA)
Photo: Simphiwe Mbokazi/African News Agency (ANA)

Letter to the Editor: SAA’s ’false privatisation’

By Letter to the Editor Time of article published Jun 15, 2021

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By Duncan Du Bois

True privatisation requires that the major shareholder is independent politically and ideologically of government. The SAA deal announced by minister Pravin Gordhan falls 100 percent short of those criteria.

The Takatso Consortium which is to have a 51% holding in SAA, comprises two groups: Harith General Partners and Global Aviation. The chairperson of Harith, Philip Moleketi, was deputy Finance minister in Thabo Mbeki’s cabinet. His wife, Geraldine Fraser, was also a Cabinet minister. So, not only is half the Takatso Consortium ANC-aligned, but the chairperson of Takatso Consortium, Tshepo Mahloele, is similarly aligned, having previously headed the corporate finance and Isibaya division of the state-owned Public Investment Corporation (PIC).

The main shareholder in Harith is the PIC. So the R3 billion that Harith is putting into the consortium is actually from the PIC and amounts to a loan from a state company to one of its progeny. Put another way, the givers and the receivers are the same people. No money actually changes hands. Yet the deal is being hailed as a public/private partnership.

The final proof that SAA has not been privatised is the 33 percent golden share in voting rights which the state has in the deal. Although ostensibly the minority shareholder in the partnership with 49 percent it gives the government veto power in changes over the consortium’s charter, notably where the ideology of “transformation” is concerned, which is described in the deal as “an imperative”.

So the ANC government has given nothing away and remained true to its ideological conviction that privatisation is taboo.

Dr Duncan Du Bois, Durban

*The views expressed here are not necessarily those of IOL or of title sites


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