Costs of running SAA outstrip benefits – DA

Public Enterprises Minister Malusi Gigaba must meet with the DA as a matter of urgency, to explain how he will prevent the grounding of South African Airways (SAA) before the end of the year.

Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of SAA, Siza Mzimela reportedly resigned from her position in an email sent to colleagues this morning. This comes after SAA board chair Cheryl Carolus and at least 7 other board members resigned from their posts at the end of last month.

In the case of the now ex-CEO, the purported R1.25bn loss in the 2012 financial year is likely to have been the catalyst behind her exit.

The former CEO has presided over an airline characterised by spiralling debts, operational inefficiencies and an entrenched reliance on bailouts from the National Treasury. These factors have finally brought the wasteful airline to its knees. The airline is now well and truly in a crisis.

It is no exaggeration to suggest that without thoughtful and measured interventions that SAA could find itself grounded by the end of the year.

Recently, I requested a meeting with Minister Gigaba to discuss our proposals to privatise the national carrier. These latest developments have only served to elevate the importance of this meeting.

The endemic dysfunctional nature of SAA has sapped public coffers for too long. Enough is enough. The Minister must realise sooner rather than later that the costs of running a national carrier far outstrip the benefits.

The idea of a state-backed national carrier has flown its course and must now be grounded. Surely, privatisation is the obvious alternative.

Press Release by Natasha Michael, DA Shadow Minister of Public Enterprises


Author: Muzi Mohale

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