Corrupt and dirty SAA dealings of Minister Gordhan concerning – ARETA

Appointment of secret new interim board raises many questions, says Carl Niehaus

ARETA deeply concerned about the corrupt and dirty dealings of Minister Gordhan regarding SAA and in that context the secret new interim SAA board that had been appointed

19 April 2023

The African Radical Economic Transformation Alliance (ARETA) is deeply concerned about the corrupt, dirty, dealings of Minister Pravin Gordhan, and his cohorts, to sell off SAA to the Takatso Consortium by-hook-or-by-crook.

The latest shenanigans that Minister Gordhan gotten up to is the suspension of the Director General of Public Enterprises, Mr. Kgathatso Tlhakudi, and the secretive appointment of a new interim Board for SAA, under the extremely dubious chairperson ship of ANC politician, Derek Hanekom. Hanekom is known as a close friend of Gordhan, and one of his most ardent supporters.

In an extraordinary frank and revealing interview on PowerFM, Mr. Kgathatso Thlakudi revealed that the Takatso Consortium was initially not at all in the running - nor considered a viable option - to purchase SAA, but was literally parachuted in from nowhere by Minister Gordhan to become the preferred bidder. While there was a short list of viable equity partners drawn up, Takatso was initially not at all on that short list. In fact

in 2021 Minister Gordon literally put together the Takatso Consortium all on his own. The question arises what was the criterium that Gordon used to custom make this consortium, and what makes him believe that this will be the best equity partner?

Mr. Thlakudi stated categorically that the Takatso Consortium does not have the expertise, nor the financial strength, to purchase and run SAA. He stated that the whole bidding process was irregular and illegal, and the payment structure makes absolutely no sense. Takatso claims that they will pay for SAA assets through a preference share scheme, while SAA has not declared dividends in the past, and the declaring ratio of dividends will be dependent on the Board that is controlled by Takatso. This simply means that the true value of SAA will never be realised and paid.

Mr. Thlakudi revealed that he consistently, right from the beginning of this sham, illegal, process, raised his concerns and that is why Minister Gordhan specifically targeted him with trumped up charges, and got him suspended. We urge everyone who is concerned about Gordhan’s shady SAA dealings to listen to that extraordinary PowerFM interview with Mr. Thlakudi: https://omny.fm/shows/power-breakfast/kgathatso-tlhakudi-speaks[1]on-allegations-that-asse). Among many serious allegations Mr. Thlakudi revealed that the SAA assets have been deliberately undervalued to a mere R 3 billion, while the true value is said to be R 14 594 billion. This is an undervaluation of a whopping R 11 195 billion!

It is extraordinary that the Takatso Consortium, which was custom made and earmarked by Gordhan to be the SAA equity partner, was allowed to appoint its own evaluator who proceeded to undervalue the SAA assets from R 14 594 billion to only R 3 billion! To allow an equity partner with direct vested interests to do such a valuation is not only highly irregular, it is illegal. In fact this is downright highway robbery! As a consequence SAA is actually due to be sold for the outrageous nominal amount of R 51!

What kind of Banana Republic are we living in that a Minister is allowed to go rogue to this outrageous extent to sell a state entity for next to nothing to his friends so that they can loot the airline for their - and his - selfish benefit?!

ARETA also learned that Gordhan is gunning for the interim Chief Financial Officer (CFO) of SAA, Mr. Fikile Mohlonthlo, and wants him removed because Mr. Moholontho has expressed serious concerns about the gross irregularities regarding the equity partner deal with the Takatso Consortium.

It has furthermore come to our attention that the former, now removed, joint Executive Chairperson and CEO of the replaced interim Board, Professor John Lamola, is not all happy about the dictatorial manner in which Gordhan has just informed him, without any consultation, that he is no longer the Chairperson, and had been replaced by Derek Hanekom. However, unhappy as Lamola is he has been silenced for now, through him having been retained as interim Chief Executive Officer (CEO). How long he will still last as interim CEO, is anybody’s guess, but chances are that he will also soon become yet another victim of the axe that Gordon is yielding with so much vindictive vigour. Evidently, the shenanigans at SAA are astonishing, and resembles a den of thieves, where integrity is in short supply.

Gordhan evidently does not care one iota for corporate governance, he is a dictator and power on his own, who has been give carte blanche by President Ramaphosa to do as he wishes.

The question arises what dirt does Gordhan have on Ramaphosa that he evidently can do as he wishes, and does not fear to be called to order? All these corrupt shenanigans Gordhan indulges in with abundance while he has the audacity to blame the boogey man of so-called ‘state capture’ for the State Owned Enterprises (SOE’s) under his control.

ARETA concurs with a recent media statement by the NUMSA General Secretary, comrade Irvin Jim, that Gordhan is to blame for the collapse of SOE’s such as SA Express, SAA, Eskom and Denel, among others. He deliberately keeps executives in acting positions so that he can control them, and when they question his corrupt shenanigans, he axes them and replaces them with executives who are pliable and willing to do his dirty work.

This is exactly what Gordhan has done now with the appointment of Derek Hanekom as Chairperson of the new SAA Board, who is one of his closest political acolytes. Hanekom is also one of he biggest sell outs in the ANC, and a known agent of White Monopoly Capital (WMC), and imperialism. Evidently Hanekom and Gordhan have already cooked up a crooked plan on how to proceed to deliver SAA to their friends of the Takatso Consortium.

When that happens - and there is no reason to believe that it will not happen – Gordhan’s new handpicked Board, that he appointed in such an underhand manner, and the members of whom he had all sworn to secrecy, will be in gross dereliction of their fiduciary duties, to the extent of irregularly and unlawfully authorising and administratively

managing the patently corrupt theft of SAA, which has a net value of R 14 594 billion!! ARETA herewith names those wayward members of the clandestine new SAA Board:

1. Derek Hanekom (Chairperson)

2. Dumisani Sangweni

3. Fatima Ghani (also a member of the Eskom Board)

4. Mahlubi Mazwai

5. Fundi Sithebe

6. Wrenelle Stander (former CEO of Comair, who contributed to the collapse of Comair, which is now facing liquidation)

We (ARETA), warn them that if they continue to facilitate the corrupt theft of SAA we will ensure that they are brought before a Tribunal, and we will ensure that at the bare minimum they are declared delinquent directors. Chances are that criminal charges of corruption and theft will also be brought against them.

ARETA furthermore demands that the African National Congress (ANC), of whom both Gordhan and Hanekom are senior members, must account to the public about their deploys, and especially explain whether Minister Gordhan’s actions represent the ANC as the governing party. While the ANC is at it, they must also explain to the citizens of South Africa why someone as derelict in his duties, and corrupt, such as Gordhan, is still deployed by the ANC as a Cabinet Minister.

All these issues concerning Gordhan’s corrupt shenanigans regarding SAA, and in general his gross dereliction as Minister of Public Enterprises, will receive further attention in the #InMyCrosshairs Twitter Space that will be hosted tonight at 19:00 by the National Chairperson of ARETA comrade Carl ‘Mpangazitha’ Niehaus. The link to tonight’s #InMyCrosshairs Twitter Space is: https://twitter.com/i/spaces/1BdGYyoVXkgGX.

ARETA is clear that we will allow the continuing looting and destruction of our State-Owned Enterprises any further.



Issued by Carl Niehaus, Chair of the Working Board, ARETA, 19 April 2023