Troubled South African Airways in talks with private investors

South Africa’s President Cyril Ramaphosa has revealed that embattled state-run airline South African Airways (SAA) is open to outside investment and in talks with a number of potential private partners.

The airline has been heavily saddled with debt for the best part of a decade and said in September that a government cash injection of R5.5 billion had been approved for the 2019/20 financial year but that it still needed more money.

Ramaphosa told listeners at the FT Africa conference in London: “South African Airways is one of those state-owned enterprises that has relied on lots of state bailouts.

“We are on record as saying we are open to the participation of the private sector. As we speak now, we’re talking to a few interested parties when it comes to SAA.”

SAA has not turned a profit since 2011 and has endured a high churn of executive figures during this time, with Zukisa Ramasia currently filling the chief executive role after Vuyani Jarana’s unexpected resignation in June.

Earlier this month, Ethiopian Airlines CEO Tewolde Gebre Mariam said his company would consider buying a stake in SAA, should South Africa choose to sell equity in the financially troubled carrier.