Black partners in SAA business rescue to be announced soon - Mthembu

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Minister in the Presidency Jackson Mthembu told reporters on Tuesday morning that Cabinet was confident in the business rescue processes announced at South African Airways, and that equity partners in the business rescue would be announced soon.

Mthembu was briefing reporters in Pretoria on the outcomes of last week's Cabinet meeting. The Cabinet meeting followed the national flag carrier being placed into business rescue in early December, following a bruising strike and amid difficulty meeting its financial obligations.

Les Matuson was appointed the national carrier's business rescue practitioner. 

Mthembu said on Tuesday that Cabinet expressed confidence that the intervention would re-position the flag carrier to become a stronger, more competitive entity, which would win back confidence from investors and its passengers.

"Cabinet welcomed the appointment of the business rescue practitioner Les Matuson from Matuson Associates. He will work with the black partners that will be announced in due course," said Mthembu.

Mthembu reminded reporters that SAA would receive an additional R2bn in financial assistance from government to help restructure the airline, over and above the existing R2bn from SAA lenders.

"Cabinet is confident that this intervention will restore the reputation of the airline and prevent the collapse which would have had a negative impact on passengers, suppliers and other partners in the aviation sector and, importantly, the workforce," Mthembu said.

Mthembu said Minister of Public Enterprises Pravin Gordhan would report to Cabinet regularly on progress made in the business rescue process.

Matuson, menawhile, in a statement earlier in the month, said his team would "immediately begin consultations with all affected persons and stakeholders and intend to communicate more fully in due course”.

He said the first legal requirement, according to the Companies Act, was to call a general meeting with all stakeholders.  

The equity partners to be appointed with pertain directly to the business rescue process. It is unclear, at this point, if an equity partner would be brought into the fold after business rescue.

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