Is the SAA/Takatso deal real? - Alf Lees

DA MP says there are a host of unanswered questions around the deal

Is the SAA/Takatso deal real?

17 June 2021

The DA has written to Finance Minister, Tito Mboweni, and the Minister of Public Enterprises, Pravin Gordhan, to request urgent information regarding the deal that will see the Takatso Consortium, consisting of the Harith Group Partners and Global Airways, with a 51% share of the South African Airways (SAA).

While Minister Gordhan announced the deal with great fanfare on 11 June 2021, he failed to provide any real substance of what this would entail. There are a host of unanswered questions that must be dealt with in order to ensure that the proposed deal is not just another form of SAA bailout disguised as a deal via the Public Investment Corporation (PIC) or other development finance institution (DFI), or yet another enrichment exercise for connected ANC cadres.

Whilst the DA welcomes the fact that on the surface the State is finally apparently giving up control over SAA, we have grave reservations given the lack of transparency regarding the details of the process followed to identify a beneficiary for the 51% shareholding as well as the details of the memorandum of understanding (MOU) or agreement negotiated but apparently not yet entered into with Takatso.

In the interest of the constitutionally enshrined obligation for transparent governance and in terms of the rules of parliament that require that members of parliament be provided with information requested from the Executive, the DA has requested that Ministers Gordhan and Mboweni provide us and all South Africans with full, detailed and unequivocal answers to a list of questions as well as to provide the full details of the information requested.

Unfortunately, experience has taught us that both Ministers Gordhan and Mboweni have, on occasion, failed to give detailed or clear replies to requests for information. This is particularly true of Minister Gordhan who after some twelve weeks has still not provided the Standing Committee on Public Accounts (SCOPA) with information on SAA that was requested during a SCOPA meeting on 25 March 2021 and in writing on the same day immediately after the meeting. As Parliament is currently in recess, no parliamentary questions can be submitted to the Ministers.

In an attempt to ensure cooperation from the Ministers, the DA has also written to President Cyril Ramaphosa and the Speaker of Parliament, Thandi Modise, to appeal that they use all the authority vested in them to guarantee that Ministers Gordhan and Mboweni swiftly provide the information requested and to bring all South Africans into their confidence.

Statement issued by Alf Lees MP - DA Member of the Standing Committee on Public Accounts, 17 June 2021