While the aviation industry is reaching new heights elsewhere in Africa, making travel even more accessible and affordable, SAA is failing to take off as a successful state-owned entity and continues to stretch the national purse. Yet government looks set to hold on to it. SAA has failed to make a profit since 2011. The airline came frighteningly close to defaulting in 2017, revealing a R5.6bn loss for the year to March 2018 with revenue dipping about R1bn below its forecasts for the period. With sky-high prices for flights, and the growing pressure on the fiscus, calls to privatise the airline have increased. The DA says full privatisation would prevent any further negative impact on SA’s constrained fiscus. But for former finance minister Malusi Gigaba, the reason government continues to support the airline is abundantly clear. "SAA has about 10,500 employees and for government to lose SAA would be a huge blow to the economy and to the employees, who would lose their jobs and have...

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