Parliament calls for probe into collapsed SAA-Takatso deal

 ·20 Mar 2024

The Portfolio Committee on Public Enterprises has unanimously agreed to recommend for the Special Investigating Unit (SIU) or any other law enforcement agency to investigate the collapsed deal that planned to sell 51% of South African Airways (SAA) to Takatso Consortium.

The main reason given by the National Assembly committee for this is that the department has not been able to successfully dispute and disprove all the allegations that the former Director-General (DG) Kgathatso Tlhakudi had made about the deal.

Tlhakudi laid a complaint against Minister Pravin Gordhan in Parliament last year, saying that the sale of SAA “was orchestrated in an irregular manner by the minister to benefit a few privileged individuals who were favoured by the minister”.

Allegations laid by the former DG include that Takatso was not initially on the list of companies that submitted bids, the assets of SAA were undervalued, certain individuals interfered and handpicked Takatso as the preferred bidder, and some signatures in the sale documents, including his own, were forged.

The Public Enterprises Committee said that it does not have the capacity to investigate these allegations, which largely have not been disproven.

“These are among the reasons that the committee feels very strongly that we need an SIU type of investigation to find out whether there is any truth in that allegation raised by the former DG,” said Committee chairperson, ANC’s Khaya Magaxa in an interview with the SABC.

When asked whether Gordhan conducted himself in an irregular manner during the negotiations, Magaxa said that there were “questionable processes”; however, no current evidence can be placed at the feet of the minister.

The former DG who made the claims was dismissed in 2023 following an inquiry into a complaint against him with the Public Service Commission.

The minister has long rubbished the accusations, saying that “these claims are patently false and are emblematic of someone who is refusing to be held accountable, and is instead clutching at straws, and looking for public sympathy through deception and lies.”

“Suddenly, I have become a corrupt individual in the eyes of some people without them having an iota of proof. If you find me having stolen one cent of public money, you have something on your side which I do not have. Nobody can find that,” said Gordhan.

Read: Gordhan’s message to SAA employees: thank the government

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