SA’s first privatisation in decades — the acquisition of 51% in SAA by private consortium Takatso — is an intriguing transaction. Among the big questions are not just how it will work, but if it will work at all, given the competitive airline market, the damage wrought on SAA’s market share over the past 18 months and the tendency of the government to constantly interfere.

The place to start is with the debt. All of SAA’s legacy debt has already or will be taken care of by the government, says public enterprises minister Pravin Gordhan. The Treasury is repaying R16.4bn over three years, which began in 2020, and in October allocated R10.5bn to fund the rescue plan...

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