Billions to advertise comradely delinquency, with more to come
It must be one of the most unusual advertising campaigns in history – the billions of rands the government has spent bailing out South African Airways (SAA) and otherwise attempting to keep it going despite the chronic fecklessness and incompetence (and worse) of its controlling shareholder.
Every time another couple of billion is handed over to SAA, each time another turnaround plan is announced, each time we are told that a new airline is to be launched from amid the ruins of SAA, each time yet another bunch of consultants is hired, the resulting headlines serve only to remind everyone of the never-ending failure of the ruling alliance, the government it controls, and the boards they appoint to do a proper job of running SAA.
Talk about negative advertising! – repeatedly reminding everyone of the incompetence, malfeasance, cowardice, and corruption that has brought about this tragic state of affairs. Thus do the African National Congress (ANC) and the South African Communist Party (SACP) showcase the consequences for the country’s flagship airline of their flagship policies: cadre deployment, “employment equity”, and racially-slanted procurement criteria – the whole caboodle, along with arrogance, racial obsession, incessant interference, high-handedness, disdain for accountability, and contempt for taxpayers.
In a way, it’s all rather pathetic, this persistent attempt to have an airline to play with, as if doing so enhances your prestige or your sense of self-worth, while showing that you too can do what grown-ups do – except that most of the grown-up governments have long since grown out of the desire to have state-owned airlines..
Handing down her judgment in the North Gauteng High Court at the end of last month, Ronel Tolmay declared that Dudu Myeni, former chairman of SAA, was “not a fit and proper person to be appointed as a director of any company”. A “lifelong delinquency order” was accordingly issued against her.