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Business|Financial
business|financial

Public Enterprises Committee refers SAA takeover matter to SIU for investigation

20th March 2024

By: Marleny Arnoldi

Deputy Editor Online

     

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The Portfolio Committee on Public Enterprises has decided to refer the matter of the Takatso Consortium’s now-cancelled plans to buy a 51% stake in South African Airways (SAA) to the Special Investigating Unit (SIU) for further investigation.

Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan last week announced that the transaction negotiations had been terminated, owing to no agreement having been reached on the transaction structure.

Subsequently, various stakeholders have been calling for an investigation into the failed sale of the majority of SAA's shares to Takatso, which was initially announced in February 2022.

The committee says it acknowledges the complexity of the matter and the need for a thorough and credible investigation. Therefore, the committee recommends that the SIU and/or another relevant law enforcement agencies be tasked with further investigating this matter to ensure accountability and transparency.

The committee agrees with the complainant, the former Director-General for the Department of Public Enterprises, that Takatso Consortium was not included in the shortlist when the Rand Merchant Bank (RMB) evaluated the expressions of interest from potential strategic equity partners.

The committee seeks to understand the reasons behind RMB’s desire to be released from its role as the adviser on the purchase.

Members of the committee say that, in future, Parliament needs to play an integral and meaningful role in government transactions of this magnitude.

The committee was also of the view that Parliament should be part of overseeing deals in which State assets are to be sold to the private sector.

Moreover, the committee stresses the importance of transparency and accountability when it comes to financial matters, particularly when there is a need for funding. “It is crucial for the relevant parties to appear before the committee and provide necessary details to ensure proper oversight,” it states in a release issued on March 20.

The committee is also concerned about the undervaluation of SAA and the need for a comprehensive evaluation of the business. “It is essential to address the sequence of events that led to the undervaluation and to investigate any potential corruption or misconduct in the process.”

The committee also expresses its commitment to fulfilling its oversight role and ensuring that the interests of the public are protected by continuing to engage with relevant stakeholders and working towards achieving a fair and just resolution to the matter.

Edited by Chanel de Bruyn
Creamer Media Senior Deputy Editor Online

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