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.

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  • bergie.sean - 2012-10-01 09:03

    Agree, Chris, SAA needs to be 'put down'.

      claudia.meads - 2012-10-01 12:12

      SAA is just one of a long list of ANC failures - put the ANC down, it is the only future for SA (not only SAA). One of the key reasons SAA is failure, was not mentioned specifically here - SAA flies to a plethora of bizarre African destinations - NONE OF THEM ARE PROFITABLE. SAA has simply become another tool in the ANC black nationalist rage - it will be destroyed along with SA as a whole.

      tc.convulvulous - 2012-10-02 01:37

      Well said, Chris. I also do not fly SAA "for reasons of my own". For years I have not flown SAA if there is an alternative. I cannot support a treacherous, arrogant organisation like the SAA. Lately I can also add 'racism' to my list of reasons for not flying SAA.

  • - 2012-10-01 09:27

    A tkt to Neilspruit from Cape Town is R6,000.00, absolutely crazy, almost cheaper to fly to UK! Rip-off BIG TIME!

      wesley.bischoff - 2012-10-01 09:50

      A ticket from CPT to George, which is like 400km, cost me R3500! It is utterly pathetic.

  • trevor.bush.9655 - 2012-10-01 09:42

    Just landed in Hong Kong, flew SAA and can tell you, it's business as usual, my guess, SAA are sure the ANC will bail them out again, ANC excuse YEARS ago was, we as a "country" of "unity" MUST have a national airline YET, our very own PRESIDENT ZUMA, would rather spend BILLIONS on his own private Boeings than use the "NATIONAL" Airline called SAA so...again I say, the ANC does not know it's front from it's rear and it WILL be the end of SA due to it's bungling incompetant unqualified racists leaders and policies...but that is Africa for you and we are no longer "special".

      harley.quin.334 - 2012-10-02 12:40

      well, the ANC firmly believes that it is better to have double standards than no standards at all

  • standuhar - 2012-10-01 10:17

    You are fed up? You only mention SAA and SABC. There are so many other instances where OUR taxes are squandered. The solution... don't pay your SABC licence, hold back on paying your taxes for just 3 months. Unions and workers are bringing this countries economy to its knees so why can't businesses all just close for a few days in protest. No work, no salaries, no income for the workers, no taxes to be squandered. The losses and damage caused by the strikers justify this action.

      george.slade.161 - 2012-10-01 12:14

      You are absolutely spot on . Those who carry the economy should delay or not pay anything that goes to Govt (For which read "ANC"). A=Another N=National C= C-Up. And they will eventually PrivatiseMines etc ----we are on a Slippery slide to another inevitable afican shambles. Send ANC back to Robben Island for an Education .

      sagie.naidu.1 - 2012-10-04 17:26

      ooh! What a relishing thought.If all us passive citizen hold back on our taxes,they will be brought to their knees.We need to establish another UDF against these incompetent megalomaniacs in govt.

  • michele.holmes.1238 - 2012-10-01 10:38

    Change could also be started by us refusing to pay (TV Licences)

      afrikeni - 2012-10-01 11:10

      Those bloody SABC people will blacklist you in a heart beat for non payment of TV licences & we all know the resultant effect of that black mark on a credit record - u can't win, grrrrr!

      tc.convulvulous - 2012-10-02 01:41

      Iam already blacklisted by the SABC , and I am proud of it!

  • Mlu.Tolo - 2012-10-01 10:55

    A black ass man is with you on this one.

  • stuart.grobbelaar - 2012-10-01 11:06

    I refuse to pay for utter rubbish entertainment, amateurish productions, substandard shows, soapies that are constantly on repeat and boring infomercials that I do not even watch. The SABC is a bankrupt excuse of a SOE and is an embarrassment to all South Africans. The only cool thing about the SABC is that they employ Riaan Cruywagen.

  • whmarais - 2012-10-01 11:07

    I agree with Chris on this. All the staterun and state influenced companies never had such disastrous financial reports before the ANC came to power, granted those companies could have done better if privately owned; the issue is however that there is only one entity to blame for the current state of affairs in this country and that is the ANC.

  • jacques.smit - 2012-10-01 11:10

    This happens when you involve government in business... Just watch nationalization go the same route! Alot of people will suffer..

  • coontly - 2012-10-01 11:51

    I am a very hardworking South African , and I pay a lot of tax. Shouldn't I have a say in what happens to my money . I think this is South Africans biggest frustration. Imagine 25% of your money being burnt every month, that's how it feels like to me.

      jacques.smit - 2012-10-01 11:55

      jip... sad hey.. Well, if you're malema you can just not pay taxes at all. Drive a fancy 600k Merc Viano fan, have a big house in sandton, personal body gaurds etc etc all on a claimed 20k salary.. And still be seen by the masses as not robbing them..

  • givenvon.baloyi - 2012-10-01 12:04

    The write did not do his homework properly. Sometimes blogger need to get their facts correctly. Can the writer explain how cadre deployment has fail at SAA. Except for cheap politicking I do not find a logic in this article. The writer mention that while he is queuing to get to comair he see loads of people checking into SAA, why? Why QATAR, EMIRATES, ETIHAD, Ethiopian Airways are cheaper? The author must get facts and stop blowing hot air.

      george.slade.161 - 2012-10-01 12:17

      Please get educated --its Dummies like u , who keep voting these idiots in -----Hopeless !!

      george.casper.315 - 2012-10-01 13:13

      That was brilliant, insightful, eloquent and abouve all very very informative . . . . thank you givenvon --------------------

  • angela.michaels.73 - 2012-10-01 12:10

    When are you going to do some research.Here's a tip; research the effect closing down Varig had on Brazil. And exactly what has happened to Qantas as the result of privatisation.

      Chris - 2012-10-01 12:31

      I never made a case for privatisation - I just said put people on the boards who understood business. chairmen who understood how to chair.

      angela.michaels.73 - 2012-10-02 21:56

      I take your point but the next statement is invariably close it down or privatise it. I also believe that any state owned enterprise should aim to break even, not make a profit, that's for the companies listed on the JSE. Please also bear in mind that most of SAA's troubles stem from the appalling business methods of that so called expert Coleman Andrews. He was supposed to be this international aviation expert - to the extent that some reputable business schools in South Africa were using him as a case study. He did untold damage. Aviation is possibly the most difficult business to manage today. Comparing domestic airlines with international ones is also misleading due to the international regulations that govern the international airlines ie Comair don't face these challenges as they don't operate into Europe or the USA. I wish someone would write an article that showed at least some understanding of the business instead of what amounts to yet another personal rant. In the light of today's news of a R5bn guarantee (which I'm sure you know is a pretty standard business practice when granting credit lines of this extent) I doubt a strategic plan has just been conjured up, I'd go as far as to say it was always there. Personally I believe the Minister handled the situation totally incorrectly by playing it out through the media. So who is at fault here the Board or the Minister? Space does not allow me to continue but again, a researched article would be nice.

  • nico.leroux1 - 2012-10-01 12:34

    And are those flight attendants fat!!!

  • chris.brewer.9484 - 2012-10-01 13:11

    Nicely put Chris. Funnily enough the SABC and SAA are both issues I'm talking about in the next Brewer's Droop ( which should go out tomorrow.

  • jason.ugolini - 2012-10-01 13:35

    You must pey eyyyy... You must pey... you must give us de jobz.

  • margaret.swanepoel - 2012-10-01 15:00

    Well put Chris. Unbelievable to think that this country is just going down and the captain of the ship is trying to cement a job for himself on the United Nations. The taxpayers have no say in the matter and as someone who had a problem with SARS and was told to pay in R38000 and then argue. The argument was never had. They refuse to listen. We need to run down the streets with bayonets and perhaps we will be heard. Dont tell me to leave RSA. I was born here and my tax is keeping one of the thieves in good nick. Margaret

  • Dimitri - 2012-10-01 15:35

    True, cde deployment is killing both institutions. and even within their ranks (ANC) they do have capable people they keep overlooking for political reasons!!

  • khumbudzo.budeli - 2012-10-01 22:12

    Well this is w@ happens wen u nationalise things

  • gerrit.vanpletzen - 2012-10-02 07:07

    And they keep on appointing comrades. Keep the gravy train running. When are they going to realise you have to have people in charge who know what they are doing?

  • gerrit.vanpletzen - 2012-10-02 07:10

    From world class to world class cock-up in a short time.

  • LanfearM - 2012-10-02 10:18

    SAA must be sold and privatised, and run as a business not a personal piggy bank for top management. I usually fly Kulula, because they often have specials and are usually the cheapest. SAA is always the most expensive for domestic flights and airlines such as BA and Emirates [and several others] are way better to use for international flights. Often cheaper too than SAA. SAA should be sold, along with Telkom, SABC, Eskom and a plethora of others! State-run institutions just do not work! Been proven world-wide, over and over again.

      LanfearM - 2012-10-02 10:19

      Well, except in a few odd circumstances where state-owned companies do make a profit...

  • tania.ross.37 - 2012-10-02 18:44

    Never replaced my TV after it got stolen. Don't miss it at all! SAA? Greyhound is cheaper and the scenic route is so much more fun.

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