Public Enterprises Minister Lynne Brown hinted on Thursday that she would be in favour of merging South African Airways (SAA), SA Express (SAX) and Mango into a single corporate entity so as to improve competitiveness and streamline corporate governance structures.
Speaking at a SABC2-The New Age business briefing on Thursday, the newly appointed Minister said she was interrogating the consolidation of the three airlines under “one board”, a move that would also “cut out some of the high-end overheads”.
“That’s what we are working on at the moment,” she said, adding that the aspiration was to create a “leaner, meaner” airline that was less reliant on government support.
But privatisation was not being prioritised, with Brown describing the airlines as “strategic assets” that were vital in growing trade and tourism.
The Minister was open about her displeasure with the performance of the SAA board, however, which she felt had disempowered the executive team and had hamstrung decision-making processes.
She also strongly intimated that changes would be made to the boards at the upcoming annual general meeting. “I hope, by September, I would have been able to at least sort [the board] out.”