Question of clipping SAA’s wings
South African Airways should be shut down, according to finance minister Tito Mboweni, who was speaking at an investor conference in New York on Friday.
Mboweni reportedly noted that decisions over the future of the embattled state carrier were ultimately not under his control, but that it was difficult to see a turnaround path for the struggling airline.
“It’s loss-making, we are unlikely to sort out the situation, so my view would be close it down,” Mboweni said.
In May, SAA reported losses of R5.7bn over the past financial year, while Mboweni, in his medium-term budget policy statement last week, said that airline would receive R5bn through a special appropriation bill to settle debt redeeming between now and March 2019.
We took to the streets of Nelson Mandela Bay to ask people if they thought the cashstrapped airline should be privatised or closed down. And if neither, what should be done?
MLA MTAMBO, 35, from Durban, said: “Millions [of rands] have gone missing in that company and it’s not the first bailout and definitely not the last. They must close it down because no investor would want to buy the company. They need to deal with the people responsible for SAA being in this state.”
MILLICENT DAVIDS, 57, from Uitenhage, said: “I’m concerned over the job losses. Some of the SAA staff come from the Eastern Cape [which is] already facing high levels of unemployment. I think privatising the business would be the best option for the sake of the employees.”
BULELWA MENZE, 32, from Walmer, said: “It would be better if they sell and not close it down. There are breadwinners who work [there]. It’s a lot of money that they are going to inject into the business again. Those billions could be used to create job opportunities for unemployed youth in this country.”
JOOHIUM KORTMANN, 66, who was travelling for the first time to SA from Germany, said: “I hope they’re not closing down this afternoon – they have to wait until I get home first! The service was fantastic. It shouldn’t be closed down because that would be a disaster for staff.”
CYRIL JANSEN, 36, from Bloemendal, said: “With the new [SAA] leadership, the old habits still exist. If they [government] give away more money, they’re only treating the symptoms, not the cause. They must consider the price of keeping the business or sell it to someone who will keep it sustainable.”