No fi­nal decision on SAA’S fu­ture – Brown

The Star Early Edition - - BUSINESS REPORT - Sapa

WHETHER or not the gov­ern­ment took on a strate­gic business part­ner for em­bat­tled na­tional car­rier SAA re­mained un­der dis­cus­sion, Pub­lic En­ter­prises Min­is­ter Lynne Brown said yes­ter­day.

“It will come out in terms of a process that is hap­pen­ing in SAA at the mo­ment. I still want a turn­around strate­gic per­son or company to be ap­pointed, to help us in SAA to work off our bal­ance sheet,” she told re­porters in Cape Town.

Speak­ing at a gov­ern­ment eco­nomics clus­ter me­dia brief­ing, she stressed that the state did not have money to bail out SAA. “And I think that came out very clearly in the [re­cently tabled] medium-term bud­get pol­icy state­ment.”

Brown re­peated that her depart­ment needed to look at a new business model for SAA.

“And then, to match that, a new fi­nan­cial model. And within that fi­nan­cial model, it will then de­ter­mine whether we take a strate­gic part­ner, or whether SAA can live off its bal­ance sheet. So it re­mains in the pool for dis­cus­sion. It hasn’t been re­moved,” she said.

Re­spond­ing to a ques­tion on what was hap­pen­ing with sus­pended SAA chief ex­ec­u­tive Monwabisi Kalawe, Brown said he was not back at work.

“At this stage, he’s not in his job. But we’ve started a process to make sure there’s a fair process that hap­pens within SAA around the CEO. And I’m quite com­mit­ted to that. Be­cause, at the end, [SAA is] an R85 bil­lion contributor to GDP [gross do­mes­tic prod­uct]. It is a strate­gic as­set… we must make it work.”

She said this was cur­rently “at a bit of a sen­si­tive level”, but she would re­port back when some agree­ment was reached. “The board ac­tu­ally sus­pended him. Then I told the board they should not sus­pend him un­less there’s a due process… and the board then re­in­stated him.

“A let­ter sent to me said they’d re­in­stated him and I be­lieved that. But the CEO, as we speak now, is still not in his job.”

The min­is­ter has re­port­edly been at log­ger­heads with SAA chair­woman Dudu Myeni over Kalawe’s sus­pen­sion.

Asked about this yes­ter­day, she said she had started a process within SAA and “the idea is… that the chair and I have to work to­gether”.

This process in­volved her, the board, Kalawe, and the depart­ment of pub­lic en­ter­prises.

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