President Cyril Ramaphosa has sided with public enterprises minister Pravin Gordhan on the future of SAA, rejecting finance minister Tito Mboweni’s contention that it should rather be cut loose. Just a day after Gordhan signalled that his preference was to nurse the airline back to health, Ramaphosa told parliament on Tuesday that closing it down would destabilise other state-owned entities (SOEs) and the broader economy. The national carrier has amassed about R18bn of losses since the 2015 financial year and is seeking about R22bn in government bailouts over the next three years. Answering questions in the National Assembly — in a session that descended into chaos, with EFF and DA MPs almost coming to blows — Ramaphosa said the country would not get value if it tried to sell the debt-laden airline, which needed to repay or reschedule about R14bn of debt by March. Improving financial performance and governance at SOEs has been central to Ramaphosa’s agenda since he replaced Jacob Zu...

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