Thapelo Lekabe
Digital Journalist
3 minute read
11 Jun 2021
9:55 am

Black consortium takes 51% of SAA, government holds 49%

Thapelo Lekabe

Relaunched SAA will no longer need state funding, according to the Department of Public Enterprises.

Picture: iStock

Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan on Friday morning announced the new SAA will be jointly owned by a strategic equity partner, Takatso Consortium.

Takatso, a majority black-owned consortium, will own 51% of the airline, while the government will own 49%.

Gordhan said the objective of the partnership is to relaunch a flexible, agile airline that will not be dependent on the fiscus. He said the new airline was likely to retain the SAA name and brand.

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“This consortium is 51% black-owned. It brings together two very resourceful entities Harith, the funder in infrastructure, investor and airport owner, and Global Aviation which has sufficient industry experience,” he said.

Gordhan said Takatso would put in an initial R3 billion and undertake a due diligence exercise before the transaction is finalised.

“This partnership between the government and private sector is a demonstration of South Africa’s ability to develop an entirely home-grown solution to successfully relaunch SAA as a sustainable, competitive and transformed airline,” he said.

Gordhan said the selection of the consortium was a groundbreaking decision for the government after a year-long process by his department to identify a suitable equity partner for SAA.

“The objective of bringing in an equity partner to SAA is to augment it with the required technical, financial and
operational expertise to ensure a sustainable, agile and viable South African airline. SAA will contribute to the venture, the brand, the flag, landing slots, route licences, lounges and a successful loyalty programme (Voyager),” Gordhan said.

“The government will retain a ‘golden share’ in SAA which will ensure that the flag is retained, that it remains domiciled in the country and issues such as transformation goals remain uppermost.”

SAA domestic and regional services are expected to restart later this year and international flights thereafter. The Department of Public Enterprises said the dates would be announced at a later stage.

Key elements of partnership with Takatso

Ownership

The Takatso Consortium will own 51% of the airline and government 49%. The Department of Public Enterprises said its intention is to list the new airline in the future to address future funding requirements and enable all South Africans to take part in its success.

Funding

The consortium provides the required capital. There will be no further burden on the fiscus, according to the department.

Board representation

The department said board seats would follow the “equity interests” of the shareholders.

Management representation

The department said the composition of the management team woulld take into account South Africa’s national demographics and transformation agenda.

Golden share

The government through the Department of Public Enterprises will have a “golden share” of 33% of the entity’s voting rights and certain areas of national interest.

Historical liabilities

All historical liabilities (SAA’s debt) will be the responsibility of  the government within the amount allocated.

SAA Subsidiaries

As part of the due diligence process, the department and Takatso Consortium will carry out a joint assessment on the future of SAA’s subsidiaries Mango, SA Express, SAA Cargo and Air Chefs.

Pilots

The consortium is expected to prioritise the training and promotion of qualified black pilots as part of a non-racial team of qualified men and women.