South Africa: Do Not Bail Out SAA - Rather Feed Seven Million Hungry South Africans for a Year

opinion

While I appreciate valiant efforts by the Department of Public Enterprises to save SAA, throwing good money after bad stopped making sense the moment millions of South Africans faced lockdown-induced starvation. The logic dictated by the numbers is truly persuasive.

I was never a disinterested observer watching SAA gobble up South Africans' funds over decades while competing with privately-owned airlines - one of which was my own Kulula.com, which I helped start in 2002.

During the last few months, I have had an engagement with the Department of Public Enterprises' highly impressive advisory team regarding my recommendations regarding SAA's future.

Notable in my presentation was a plan for SAA that precludes any future state-funding for the airline and the rebirth of a proud national carrier utilising private funding. I have no doubt that following this SOE's disastrous past and a cost to our country of more than R57,000-million (I have restated the R57-billion in order to make this extraordinary number that much more real), this is an urgent and critical issue.

Apart from my endeavours in the travel and tourism industry, I chair a food rescue organisation called SA Harvest. Since the Covid-19 pandemic broke, our team has delivered more...

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