Chris Moerdyk

You have to buy a ticket on SAA...

2012-10-01 08:47

Chris Moerdyk 

I just wonder how long South Africans will continue to put up with a situation where they have to pay for a ticket on SAA even if they fly on Kulula and also have to pay for SABC programmes even if they always only watch or Mnet?

This thought struck me the other day that when I read a news item about SAA still needing between R4bn and R6n to "recapitalise" the airline which is the polite way of saying "bailout".

They asked for the money in February this year and last week Public Enterprises Minister, Malusi Gigaba, told Parliament that he wouldn't be able to table SAA's annual report before the end of September deadline as the auditors hadn't finished doing their job because they didn't know what was going on with that multi-billion rand bailout.

The minister then told the Cape Town Press Club that SAA had not yet provided a viable strategic plan to justify the huge cash injection.

Great - at last a Cabinet minister has admitted, albeit with political correct subtlety, that SAA is nothing more than a high-flying cock-up.

SAA 'a mess'

Then, a few days later the chair and six board members quit - which is like the captain and half a soccer team walking off midway through a game because they can't be bothered to try and win.

SAA is in a mess and hasn't got the foggiest idea of how to get itself out of trouble.

Their best idea so far has been to toss a whole lot more of OUR money their way and then presumably do the same thing again in five years time.

The time has come now to take those cash-swallowing bottomless pits such as SAA and the SABC and give them to someone who actually understands the airline and broadcast businesses.

It's time the ANC realised that their practice of cadre deployment simply doesn't work. Being a chairperson or board member is not just any old job - they require enormous amounts of skill and experience.

What the ANC keeps doing is expecting dental nurses to perform heart transplant operations.

Cadre deployment incompetence

I don't know about you, but I am getting fed up with SAA and SABC having to be continually bailed out.

I don't watch SABC TV anymore nor do I listen to SABC radio simply because everything it broadcasts seems to be targeted at everyone but me.

I also don't fly SAA for reasons of my own.

But, it really irritates me when I board a Kulula or British Airways flight and see a queue of people lining up to check in at SAA and knowing that I am paying a piece of each one of their tickets.

I cannot see why, if Comair can be profitable in South Africa, SAA can't be as well.

I believe it has nothing to do with tough trading conditions but rather continuing cadre deployment incompetence.


And it's not as though SAA is selling cheap, unprofitable tickets. An aged family member who is having to fly the most direct flight from Cape Town to Perth, Australia has had to pay R14 000 for a return ticket. Another family member flying on Qatar to Munich - a much greater distance - is only paying R8 000.

And how many people do I know who pay a lot of money to subscribe to DSTV are really annoyed because they have to pay a licence fee to the SABC not to watch them.

It's insane. It has to change.

And change could start by appointing chairmen and directors who actually know what they are doing.

- Follow Chris on Twitter.

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