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Announcement of so-called SAA sale was an act of arrogance of power, says Bantu Holomisa

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With Takatso Consortium being identified as the preferred partner of the SAA sale, UDM leader Bantu Holomisa says he wouldn’t be surprised if the consortium has ties with the ANC.

UDM leader Bantu Holomisa. Picture: Karen Sandison/African News Agency (ANA)

WITH TAKATSO Consortium being identified as the preferred partner of the SAA sale, United Democratic Movement (UDM) leader Bantu Holomisa says he wouldn’t be surprised if the consortium has ties with the ANC.

After announcing that the UDM would proceed with court action against Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan, Holomisa said he was expecting feedback from his lawyers this week.

It seems the country was misled after Gordhan announced that the government had sold its 51% share of SAA to Takatso Consortium. Political parties, various organisations and analysts were abuzz about the announcement, with all requesting more transparency on the so-called sale.

Gordhan said Takatso would inject more than R3 billion into the deal. This comes after SAA had been in rescue since December 2019, and business rescue practitioners ended the process two months ago.

In a statement on June 11, the department announced that a due diligence process was under way. Last week Independent Media attempted to glean more information about the finalisation process, but department spokesperson Richard Mantu said once the process was finalised, more details would be provided to the public.

He was unable to provide a turnaround time.

Further details are still due to be outlined on key issues such as the route network roll-out, fleet selection, leadership team, transformation, brand relaunch, technology, SAA’s subsidiaries, global partnerships and Voyager.

And then … hours later President Cyril Ramaphosa announced that the deal between SAA and Takatso was not finalised. The president also referred to the consortium as the “preferred partner”.

Holomisa said the announcement was made prematurely, and that so much confusion had resulted, hence the UDM was seeking legal advice on the matter.

“As we all know by now, Takatso Consortium is comprised of Global Aviation and Harith General Partners; the latter was fingered by the judicial commission of inquiry Into allegations of impropriety regarding the Public Investment Corporation (the Mpati Commission).

“The entire SAA deal has been nebulous, and it is unclear how the government prioritised Harith as a partner after the negative things the Mpati Commission had to say about it.

“The UDM has therefore decided to brief our lawyers and will go ahead and challenge Minister Gordhan’s decision in court,” Holomisa said.

On Monday, Holomisa said much more clarity was needed.

“All of a sudden, President Ramaphosa and Minister Gordhan are teaming up now, saying there’s no deal … and this and that, but we want to know what were the circumstances which led to them making the announcement on June 11? We are requesting more documentation from them.

“I think what happened is that these people (government and Takatso Consortium) have told themselves that ‘come what may, this business is going to go through. In doing so, and typical of their arrogance, they forgot to look into other needs. This was an act of arrogance of power. We think we have a water-tight letter demanding more information,” said Holomisa.

He added that he wouldn’t be surprised if the consortium had ties with the ruling party.

“You can see some similarities to companies such as Bosasa and Chancellor House. I wouldn’t be surprised if this company is linked to the ANC.”

Last week Gordhan’s spokesperson, Richard Mantu, said in a statement: “The announcement followed a rigorous, year-long process undertaken by the department to identify a suitable SEP for SAA. This process commenced while SAA was under the control of the business rescue practitioners (BRPs). The ministry has been transparent in communicating the milestones in the process to announce the preferred strategic equity partner for SAA.”

Political Bureau

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