Does your local state school or clinic make a profit? It seems unlikely. Even in the richest suburbs their income doesn’t cover the services they provide. But no-one expects them to be shut down just because they depend on government subsidies.

The same logic should apply to SAA. Admittedly, its losses are on a different order of magnitude. Few neighbourhood schools or clinics manage to burn through R5bn a year or run up debts of R12bn. No other state-owned company (SOC) makes anywhere near the same losses relative to its size and assets.

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