“Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results,” said Albert Einstein in the 20th century. He died 21 years after SA’s then government started SAA. Little would Einstein have known that 85 years later an SA government would still be trying to make the airline work as a real business.

The departures of SAA CEO Vuyani Jarana and Eskom CEO Phakamani Hadebe should be seen in this context. They are only two of the hundreds of business people who have tried and failed to achieve it with state-owned companies. More government ministers and other executives will also try and fail to make SAA and Eskom sustainable businesses...

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