ANC chairperson Gwede Mantashe is adamant that SAA should be sold. Historically, the airline has asked repeatedly for bailouts, and clearly the minister feels this can no longer continue to burden the fiscus.

No further loans are available, despite inquiries by the business rescue practitioners. Moreover, job cuts loom and many skilled SAA staff, such as technicians, are being headhunted by other airlines.

That some ANC and government ministers are interfering with decisions made by the business rescue practitioners is regrettable because of their lack of economic knowledge. SAA is an elitist entity. Ministers and government officials use the airline as their personal taxi service.

With the tax base in SA having shrunk substantially, the question arises: how long can the government fund and bailout SAA and other entities that are hopelessly insolvent? If SAA is liquidated it will be the first, but many others are likely to follow. 

Nathan Cheiman

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