Government willing to give up control of SAA to lure investors

Government willing to give up control of SAA to lure investors

South Africa’s government plans to retain a minority shareholding in South African Airways, the national airline that has been in bankruptcy protection for the last six months, while ceding management control to its investors, an official said.

“We are not obsessed with control,” Kgathatso Tlhakudi, deputy director-general at department of public enterprises, said in an interview on Johannesburg-based Radio 702 Wednesday.

“If we find the right partner who is prepared to inject the technology and access to markets that we require for the airline, and they are assuming management control, we are quite comfortable to let go of that.”

With a smaller shareholding the government will protect certain strategic imperatives, while helping to improve management and governance measures required to ensure SAA’s future success, he said.

South Africa received proposals from private investors and potential airline partners interested in taking part in the restructuring of the national carrier. Creditors are due to vote on a rescue plan by administrators this week that proposes a bailout of at least 26.7 billion-rand ($1.5 billion) for the loss-making carrier.

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