Minister of mineral resources & energy, Gwede Mantashe, believes that South African Airways is an airline for the elite and should be sold.
Speaking at an ANC birthday event on Saturday (8 February), Mantashe said the airline did not benefit the working class, reports the Sunday Times.
“You can give SAA to anyone to run it … it is not flying the working class. 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,” he said.
“If SAA wants to survive, it must make money to survive. If it can’t, it must be closed down. If there is a businessperson who can run it, they must take it.”
Speaking to the paper, Mantashe said he was ‘not contradicting his party position but pointing out facts’.
“We can’t throw R2 billion every month to SAA, we have given R3.2 billion in December … but still they can’t survive. It’s a travesty of justice,” he said.
Mantashe’s comments come after SAA’s business rescue practitioners (BRPs) announced a number of flight cuts last week, which will drastically reduce the airline’s operations.
“The initiatives we are taking now will strengthen SAA’s business. We believe that this should provide reassurance to our loyal customers that SAA is moving in the right direction.
“We are focused on our mandate to restore SAA’s commercial health and create an airline that South Africans will be proud of,” the BRPs said.
SAA will continue to operate all international services between Johannesburg and Frankfurt, London Heathrow, New York, Perth and Washington via Accra.
However, all domestic routes have been cut except for a singular flight between Johannesburg and Cape Town.