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Hes made a mess of SAA sale – Ramaphosa urged to fire Gordhan over Takatso deal



UDM leader Bantu Holomisa is claiming that Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan ‘has something to hide’.

As the details of the South African Airways (SAA)-Takatso Consortium deal remains confidential, United Democratic Movement (UDM) leader Bantu Holomisa has called on President Cyril Ramaphosa to intervene.

Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan appeared before Parliament on Wednesday to discuss allegations of irregularities of SAA’s sale to Takatso.

SAA documents

The two-hour long meeting, however, was held “in-camera” as Gordhan reluctantly handed over key documents relating the sale of SAA to MPs serving in the Portfolio Committee on Public Enterprises.

Gordhan has been unwilling to submit the documents, which include the shortlist of bidders as well as the sale and purchase agreement signed with Takatso.

The minister had asked that MPs sign non-disclosure agreements before he submitted the documents. However, his request was denied by the committee’s chairperson Khaya Magaxa.

ALSO READ: ‘Electioneering has started’, says DPE after Gordhan slammed for refusing to disclose SAA sale details

While MPs received the documents, the committee has scheduled another meeting for next week Wednesday.

The committee will seek a legal opinion to determine if there were valid reasons for maintaining confidentiality regarding the documents and to decide whether the meeting should be conducted privately or be open to the public.

‘Fire Gordhan’

Holomisa has since urged Ramaphosa to fire Gordhan over his handling of SAA’s sale to Takatso.

The UDM leader said Magaxa’s letter, dated 22 February 2024, to Gordhan proved that the minister was “playing delay tactics in the entire matter”.

“What is, however, most shocking is that the minister in essence wants to muzzle a parliamentary committee.

“Why have a meeting with the minister in camera and worse still want to have a parliamentary committee sign a non-disclosure agreement,” Holomisa asked in his letter to the president.

READ MORE: Govt accidentally reveals SAA’s real value and it’s less than you think

He questioned why 51% of SAA was sold for a meagre R51 to Takatso.

“What was the impetus for such a decision?” the UDM leader continued.

“Mr President, Minister Gordhan had made a mess of the SAA sale, but this latest debacle with the committee of public enterprises shows that the minister has something to hide and is wanting to bring parliament into hiding his dirty deeds. We, therefore, call on you to remove Minister Gordhan from office with immediate effect.”

SAA deal allegations

The allegations of irregularity stem from former Public Enterprises director-general, Kgathatso Tlhakudi.

Tlhakudi asserted, in a protected disclosure to Parliament, that the acquisition of SAA by Takatso did not adhere to legal requirements.

He further claimed that the deal was orchestrated by Gordhan with the intention of favouring “a few privileged individuals”, who were not originally included in the shortlist of potential strategic equity partners.

In terms of the Takatso deal, the consortium, which was formed by investor firm Harith General Partners and Global Aviation who own 80% and 20% of the deal respectively, will provide the airline with a capital injection of R3 billion over two years.

NOW READ: Gordhan denies he interfered in Takatso deal to purchase SAA

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