21 Jan MEDIA STATEMENT BY THE MINISTRY OF PUBLIC ENTERPRISES
PRETORIA – January 19, 2020 – In December, the government announced its plans to
introduce a radical restructuring process at South African Airways SOC Limited ( SAA).
This was to ensure its financial and operational sustainability and in so doing reduce its
ongoing impact on the fiscus.
An orderly and methodical restructuring process at SAA was one of the government’s top
priorities as it introduced the restructuring.
In the first week of December, the SAA Board adopted a resolution to place the company
into business rescue. This was supported by the government as an optimal mechanism to
restore confidence in SAA and to safeguard its good assets.
The Business Rescue Process process allowed SAA to continue operating in an orderly
and safe manner and to keep planes and passengers flying under the direction of a
business rescue practitioner.
SAA lenders provided R2 billion as post commencement finance (PCF) to enable SAA to
continue to operate, while the Government, though National Treasury, committed an equal
The Government continues to work with the Business Rescue Practitioners, with the
primary goal of bringing out of this process a restructured, modern airline that is able to
bring million more tourists and be a beacon of both business innovation and efficiency.
We would like the airline to create more jobs in tourism and related sectors of the economy
and work with other African airlines to underpin and service the integration of African
markets and improve dramatically intra-African trade and travel.
We are determined to break with the past patterns of bailouts as these have become a
moral hazard. The Business Rescue process is unprecedented at this level and fashion,
and in the public sector. It is a decisive move that demonstrates that government will
undertake the necessary bold steps in order to reposition its assets in such a way that they
do not continue to depend on the Fiscus and thereby burden taxpayers.
Following a meeting with the Practitioners at the weekend, the Department of Public
Enterprises is engaging with the National Treasury to raise funds for the airline in line with
the PCF undertaking.
We are determined to contribute to the Business Rescue process so that we could
minimise job losses and give birth to a rejuvenated SAA that all South Africans could be
proud of. Collective effort is needed to make SAA as a premier African airline and Star
The creation of a sustainable, competitive and efficient airline with a strategic equity
partner remains the objective of government through this exercise.
We thank the South African Public, customers, investors and suppliers of SAA for their
understanding and patience during this difficult time.