RW Johnson is simply wrong about us - Takatso Consortium

Grouping refutes writer's characterisation of leading individuals and companies, its role in the SAA deal

The following is the reply from the Takatso Consortium to various points made by RW Johnson about them in his recent article “The slow process of dispelling ANC illusions about privatisation”, Politicsweb, 19 August 2021:

Mr Jabu Moleketi is not a member of the South African Communist Party after resigning from the party many years ago. Mr Moleketi resigned from government in 2008 – 13 years ago. And since then, he has been a board member of several companies, listed and unlisted. These include Vodacom, Momentum, PPC, and Brait, amongst others. He doesn’t hold any political office either in government or ANC and therefore any insinuations of ANC political links are disingenuous and not based on fact.

Tshepo Mahloele is not an ANC contributor. A forensic investigation was conducted to this effect when Mr Bantu Holomisa initially made these allegations and were found to be false, malicious and unsubstantiated. Mr Mahloele is a well-established businessman with a track record of investing in infrastructure as a specialised asset class, including key transport assets like Lanseria airport. Mr Mahloele founded Harith and has grown it into one of the largest investors in African infrastructure.

Harith - Harith is not an ANC aligned vehicle. Harith has over USD1bn of private funds invested in transport, power and ICT assets across Africa, and partners with some of the largest investors in Africa on its projects. Harith has been cooperating with the PIC investigation panel as per the recommendations of the Commission.

Added to that, the Harith Board conducted its own independent probe in line with the recommendations of the Commission. The independent probe confirmed what was already established– that its investment practices and management fees are in line with industry norms.

These fees were negotiated and agreed with Harith institutional investors comprising banks, insurance companies, pension funds and development finance institutions. The Southern African Venture Capital and Private Equity Association (SAVCA), of which Harith a member, confirmed these facts that Harith’s management fees to its investors are in line with industry norms and standards. To that end, SAVCA found no basis to suspend its membership based on the PIC Commission Report.

Harith owns rail, aviation, toll-road and border post assets across several African markets. This includes Lanseria International Airport, the only privately owned international airport in South Africa and the second largest in Gauteng after OR Tambo International Airport. An airline of SAA’s stature and heritage will complement Harith’s transport investment platform and will put it in a strong position for future growth.

Global Airways is a leading South Africa based aviation company. It is fully integrated across aircraft acquisition, maintenance, flight operations and commercial airline management. The company has twenty years of success in the industry, providing comprehensive services to airlines both locally and globally. Global is the largest dedicated ACMI specialist in South & Sub Sahara Africa.

Since inception, the company has positioned itself as a reputable aircraft leasing company that covers the short-, medium- and long-term leasing requirements of the airline industry. Global has a fleet of nine Airbus aircraft, operating a mixed fleet of Airbus A320 and A340 family aircraft in several cabin customisation operation, which ensures any operational requirement can be accommodated. In 2020, Global launched LIFT, partnering with former Comair co-CEO and kulula founder Gidon Novick and former regional Uber COO, Jonathan Ayache. 

Takatso Consortium – we are comfortable with DPE’s assertions that a thorough and rigorous process was followed which led to the appointment of Takatso Consortium as the preferred Strategic Equity Partner (SEP) to take ownership of 51% stake in the new airline following a due diligence process into Takatso and SAA. Only once this process is finalised, and if successful, will the deal be finalised. Takatso represents a South African solution to the rebirth of a key local brand.

The R3bn funding figure announced is what the Consortium estimates will be required to fund the first 12 to 36 months of working capital requirements of the newly launched SAA. Future capital and planning of SAA will be determined post completion of the due diligence exercise. It is normal corporate action practice to announce a transaction before a DD process – and Harith has over the past 15 years concluded multibillion rand deals and raised over US$1billioin invested across various assets in Africa – the SAA transaction will go through a similar process.