Govt Gives Up Its Majority Ownership of South African Airline

The Department of Public Enterprises has identified two investors that are set to acquire a majority shareholding in South African Airways (SAA), a move that will see the government no longer wholly owning the troubled airline, writes Ray Mahlaka for Daily Maverick. This marks a step-change in the government's approach to the ownership of troubled state-owned entities. The future ownership model of SAA will be similar to Telkom's.

SAA was last profitable in 2011 and recorded cumulative financial losses of U.S.$122 million between 2012 and 2017. From 2008 to 2020, the airline received taxpayer-funded bailouts of U.S.$224 million. The national carrier has been the albatross around the necks of the South African government and the country's taxpayer for decades. The mismanagement at the airline over the years has seen several CEO and chairperson changes after the rot in its financial affairs were exposed. The airline has received several bailouts from the government since 1994, largely used to pay its creditors.


A South African Airways Airbus landing at Munich Airport (file photo).

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