Stephen Mulholland says the reason SAA remains a safe airline is that the ruling party doesn't control the appointment of pilots
There is but one way to judge competence and that is by the results obtained. It is thus easy to come to the conclusion that our African National Congress administration is utterly incompetent.
Everything it touches it ruins. Consider:
Eskom, a total operational and financial disaster whose woes gave birth to an insane plan to buy nuclear plant from Russia (probably) for $100 billion which we simply do not have and cannot borrow. This amount is equal to the total initial capital of the new BRICS development bank.
Under its previous management Eskom was a world leader in the efficient delivery of affordable power. Engineers from all over the world visited Eskom to learn how to do it. If they come now it will be to learn how not to do it.
Then there is the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (Prasa) which, reports Netwerk24, has just lost R17m for which it cannot account. The Auditor General reports accounting errors of R4 billion in Prasa’s books of which almost R800m was “irregular expenditure”.
The M&G reports that government has currently issued R461.1-billion in guarantees to state-owned entities and is exposed to R224.9-billion of this, which has been borrowed against the guarantees. This exceeds the total asset base of the country’s 717 parastatals, which was reportedly R364-billion in 2012.
Eskom has been the biggest recipient. It has received R350-billion in guarantees to date and has borrowed R144.5-billion against these. Roads agency Sanral has received guarantees valued at R38.9-billion, against which it has borrowed R30.2-billion.
The list is endless. One could on and on listing how billions and probably trillions (we will never know how much) has been and is being urinated away by our corrupt and incompetent ruling party’s administration.
Of course, one defence for all this slapgat incompetence is that our ruling party has been bent on redressing the evil sins of the past. And the sins perpetrated against those of colour by our former National Party (inspired by Hitler’s Nazis) were indeed evil.
But, pray tell, how has the ANC assisted the previously disadvantaged by destroying wealth and infrastructure that they inherited rather than by building on it? No rational person will argue against better education, housing, health, transport, safety and, therefore, prospects for the victims of apartheid.
But this has not been done. Rather a chosen few have been obscenely enriched, to the detriment of taxpayers and, ultimately the poorest of the poor. Loyal ANC cadres, often without any training or qualifications (or fakes, as the case may be), have been given power and responsibility beyond their wildest dreams and certainly beyond their capacity to execute responsibly and effectively, never mind honestly.
Peter Attard Montalto, the emerging markets analyst at Nomura International, told M&G that if the loan guarantees to state-owned enterprises were counted, government debt would be close to 65% of gross domestic product (GDP).
All this brings one to the case of our national airline, SAA, which has gobbled up more R30 billion from taxpayers directly as a result of disastrous appointments by ministers and civil servants. Of course, SAA is not alone here. Executives at our State Owned Enterprises come and go like a circus merry-go-round collecting millions on their way out.
The worst example at SAA was an American, Coleman Andrews, who took us for almost R220m - and that was in 2001 when the rand was worth a hell of a lot more than it is now. As is the usual case with our SOEs and many government departments, we have a revolving door of “acting” people although none of them have ever been on the stage.
And they all have one thing in common: a “turnaround strategy”. If I hear that term one more time from some “acting” executive, ANC cadre or power mad minister I shall vomit. Detailed in the 2015 budget is an almost doubling of the government guarantee given to SAA, which the budget review states is “technically insolvent”. Its guarantee has been raised from R7.9-billion to R14.4-billion. Of course it has, or had (you never know) an acting CEO and a turnaround strategy (ugh, puke!!).
Anyway, here’s the good news. SAA is a safe airline. It ranks high in the international ratings earning six out of a possible seven stars and is welcome to land anywhere in the world.
As can be seen from the accompanying tables, the ANC plays no role in the appointment of pilots at SAA. You can see this because most of them, in fact almost all of them, are white males.
Table: SAA pilot demographics by level, July 2015:
Now, as befits social engineers such as communists, the National Party, fascists, North Koreans and Nazis, our ANC stalwarts wish to instruct as many organisations as possible as to the racial composition of their work forces.
These must, according to the well-known demographic maniac, Jimmy Manyi, reflect not only the national breakdown but that breakdown must be imposed everywhere regardless of local population structures.
Thus, opined the learned Manyi, there is an “over-concentration” of coloureds in the Cape. Hitler, of course, felt that there was an “over-concentration” of Jews in German business, industry, academia, medicine and other sciences, the professions and so on.
Presumably our Jimmy would just want to put the coloured folks on trucks and transport them away from the Cape rather than employ Hitler’s rather more drastic solution, to use the Fuhrer’s word. These days the zealous Manyi is campaigning to have the equity rights of white and Indian women removed as their situations have improved.
It is worth remembering what Trevor Manuel said to Manyi: “I want to draw to your attention the fact that your statements about ‘an over-concentration of coloureds’ are against the letter and spirit of the South African Constitution, as well as being against the values espoused by the Black Management Forum (BMF) since its inception.”
There is no doubt in my mind that many black men and women have the innate ability to become pilots commanding jet airliners carrying many hundreds of people. Of course, such skills are rare and years of training and study are required to become a commercial pilot.
May I suggest to SAA that it uses some of the endless millions and billions we dish out to it to send black aspirant pilots to the United States Air Force for training. Perhaps our good friend, President Obama, might ease the way, both logistically and financially, to such a deal.
Pilots, sadly for the ANC, cannot be licensed by political parties. This ultimately lies with the International Air Transport Association.