In the stand-off between finance minister Malusi Gigaba and the banks that have funded bankrupt SA Airways with the R6,8bn in government-guaranteed loans that matured on Saturday, there can be only one winner. It must be the banks that have agreed temporarily (how temporarily?) and conditionally (on what conditions?) to roll over their loans. Gigaba is positioned between a rock and a hard place, and only the banks can offer him a way out. That is to agree on a rollover provided Gigaba offers them the comfort of an SAA turnaround strategy that is likely to work. It is unthinkable that such a strategy can be prepared, let alone implemented, by the existing SAA board, whose performance has piloted the airline into its tailspin. Time has run out, and Gigaba’s options are quickly running out too. He and the banks are now playing in injury time. At best the appointment of a new SAA chief executive, with effect from November, has tentative prospects. Without a supportive board in which len...

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