Parties want government to come clean on SAA deal
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Cape Town - The SAA deal to sell a 51% stake to an equity partner with government no longer to provide billions in bailouts has been received with mixed reaction from political parties.
While some parties have raised questions about the deal saying they need more answers from government, others welcomed it.
This came after Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan said on Friday that Takatso consortium will acquire a 51% stake in SAA with the government to keep the 49% shareholding in the new airline.
Gordhan said Takatso would inject more than R3 billion into the deal. SAA has been in rescue since since December 2019 and business rescue practitioners ended the process two months ago.
While the ANC caucus in Parliament and the IFP welcomed the deal, the DA and UDM said the agreement has left them with more questions than answers.
ANC chief whip Pemmy Majodina’s office said this was a step in the right direction.
But opposition parties said there were many question marks on the deal.
They said one of the sticking points was that due diligence has not been completed by Takatso yet the deal has been struck.
DA MP Alf Lees said the government needs to come clean on the deal.
“The DA is also deeply concerned by government’s confirmation that the consortium is still to undertake a normal due diligence exercise before the definitive sale and purchase agreement is completed. This is worrying in light of the fact that Minister Gordhan seems confident that the consortium will provide R3bn in capital for the ‘revitalised’ SAA. Clarity is needed as to what will happen should the consortium not go through with the purchase of the majority-shareholding in SAA,” said Lees.
UDM leader Bantu Holomisa said there were concerns around the company involved in the deal.
“At the last glance the portfolio committee on public enterprises and the standing committee on public accounts had been dealing with SAA’s business rescue and now we hear that a majority stake has been sold, without any details of who Takatso consortium’s competitors were, how the deal was structured nor how it was financed.
“How much is this 51% in SAA worth? How can a R3bn injection now suddenly be enough to save SAA from certain death while government has been pumping billions and billions of rand into this entity for years? Something is stinking to high heaven with this whole situation,” said Holomisa.
IFP deputy president Mzamo Buthelezi said they welcomed the announcement by the minister, but they want government to make public all the contracts signed with the consortium that got the majority stake.
“This is certainly a step in the right direction for the ailing national flag carrier. We are pleased that our calls have finally been heard by government in taking this bold step to sell off SAA. Indeed, this would bolster private and foreign investor confidence and shows that our country is serious in acting to address failing state-owned entities. The IFP, however, would like greater transparency as regards the Takatso black consortium and we urge government to make all contracts open to the public for scrutiny,” said Buthelezi.