SAA-Takatso deal cleared for take-off after getting the nod from Competition Tribunal

SAA planes are seen parked at OR Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg. File picture: Waldo Swiegers

SAA planes are seen parked at OR Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg. File picture: Waldo Swiegers

Published Jul 27, 2023


Johannesburg - The controversial SAA-Takatso Consortium deal that numerous political parties have gone to great lengths to signify their opposition to has been rubber-stamped by the Competition Tribunal.

This is something the Department of Public Enterprises has welcomed, seeing the approval of the Takatso Consortium’s proposed purchase of a 51% shareholding in SAA.

In a statement, the department hailed the decision as a significant step in the government’s efforts to consolidate the re-emergence of the national carrier as a key strategic asset.

“The Tribunal has approved the transaction subject to conditions involving a moratorium on retrenchments and divestiture of the shareholding by the minority shareholders in the Takatso Consortium.

“The Competition Tribunal’s decision sets Takatso and the DPE firmly on course to finalise other critical regulatory requirements to conclude the transaction aimed at turning SAA into a competitive, profitable, and viable carrier, both locally and internationally,” said the department’s statement.

Minister Pravin Gordhan said that with this decision, the Competition Tribunal has affirmed their belief as a government that a revitalised and well-capitalised SAA presents the country with significant opportunities to boost economic connectivity and strategic reach that should benefit South Africa’s economy and its people for years to come.

“I am confident that the repositioning of SAA sets a very good example of what can be achieved when the right financial and operational framework is given to state-owned companies so they can fulfil their mandate to advance our economic transformation and development as a country,” said Gordhan.

Gordhan said it was very gratifying to see that they are on the verge of having SAA finally infused with the requisite strategic vision, expertise, and capital by Takatso.

“The approval by the Competition Tribunal also sends a very strong message about the extent of the hard work that has gone into this transaction, considering that SAA was on the brink of liquidation. The steps we have taken will ensure that SAA returns to profitability and sustainability,” said Gordhan.

According to the DA spokesperson for public enterprises, the Department of Public Enterprises has tied itself in knots on the SAA-Takatso deal following their repeated failure to provide clarity on why Takatso has still not stumped up the money that it said it would invest in SAA as part of the deal.

Meanwhile, privately owned regional airline Airlink has acknowledged the Gauteng High Court, Johannesburg’s decision on its application to recover about R890 million from its former franchise and commercial partner, SAA.

Airlink CEO and managing director Rodger Foster said that the company respects the court’s decision; after all, it is the duty of the company’s leadership to explore every available avenue to recover the funds.

“Meanwhile, we will continue to focus on growing Airlink as an independent, financially robust, commercially vibrant, competitive, and sustainable airline,” said Foster.

The Star

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