South Africa: Competition Tribunal Approves Takatso Aviation’s Majority Stake In National Carrier

Harare — The Competition Tribunal has accepted Takatso Aviation’s proposed acquisition of a 51% holding in South African Airways (SAA), but with restrictions, including a ban on layoffs and the sale of minority shareholders’ shares, EWN reports.

The choice has put Takatso and the department on track to complete the regulatory framework required to pump U.S.$169 million (R3 billion) into the struggling airline.

DPE and the Takatso Consortium inked a purchase deal in February 2022, which sparked controversy. Takatso’s investment, according to DPE, will aid SAA in growing its fleet and route network.

SAA was last profitable in 2011 and recorded cumulative financial losses of U.S.$122 million between 2012 and 2017. From 2008 to 2020, the airline received taxpayer-funded bailouts of U.S.$224 million. The national carrier has been the albatross around the necks of the South African government and the country’s taxpayers for decades.

The mismanagement at the airline over the years has seen several CEO and chairperson changes after the rot in its financial affairs were exposed.

The airline’s bailouts from the government since 1994, was largely used to pay its creditors.

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