SAA. Image source: ASATA

ANC chairperson and  has urged the government to close  South African Airways (SAA) and SA Express.

According to a report by The Sunday Times, Mantashe said if SAA wanted to survive, it should start to make a profit and stand on its own. He added that otherwise it should be closed down or taken over by a more capable entity.

Mantashe was speaking at the ANC’s 108 celebrations in Komga, Eastern Cape.

“Anyone who can manage to run it should take over. Do you know that we even pay cheaper rates at FlySafair? That airline is much cheaper than SAA and it takes us to our destination on time. And FlySafair is always early. It is never late, while SA Express cancels flights everyday. If SAA and SA Express are not performing, they must be closed.”

Mantashe told the Sunday Times that his views were not government standpoint.

“If it is always asking for money and it does not fly the working class but only elites… [subsidising them] is not subsidising the working class,” Mantashe said.

“The only ones who are ferrying the working class are the buses and the taxis. If we were giving this money to the buses, taxis, and trains, you would have a case.”

The business rescue practitioners (BRPs) of SAA announced a number of flight cuts last week, which effectively reduced the airline’s domestic operations to one route.

President Ramaphosa has a different view to Mantashe, stating that SAA is an “economic enabler” and should not have cut flights to improve its profitability. “We would like SAA to remain a robust and successful airline. That is why we took the decision not to close SAA, but to ensure SAA is revamped, is resuscitated, and is operating profitably.”


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