South African sued after being sold for just $3

Airbus A330-300 South African Airways SAA plane
Image: Aero Icarus / CC BY-NC-SA via Wikimedia Commons


The South African Airways (SAA) soap opera seems to have a new chapter a day with no end in sight. Now, the government of South Africa and the former national airline are being sued by a small investment firm that wants to void the sale of the majority stake in the carrier earlier this year.

According to information gathered by Bloomberg, Toto Investment Holdings Pty Ltd has filed a lawsuit in the Cape Town High Court against the sale of the company. According to the plaintiff, the acquisition of 51% of South African Airways by the Takatso Consortium – formed by a jet rental company and a private equity – for just $3 it was “illegal and constitutionally invalid”.

For Toto president and founder Bongani Gigaba, the transaction was “shrouded in secrecy” and “not fair, equitable, competitive or economic”. The executive also complains that his company was unfairly excluded from the deal. “Toto was a direct victim of the illegal and secret process”told the agency.

The South African Government Department of Public Enterprises (DPE) is studying court documents and will oppose the request, an industry spokesperson said. SAA and Takatso have already referred questions to the DPE. The National Treasury declined to comment.


Crisis

After a substantial reorganization that reduced the number of employees by almost 80%, South Africa’s Minister of Public Enterprises, Pravin Gordhan, began a sale process that eventually led to the agreement with Takatso, formed by Global Airways, which owns the airline. domestic airline Lift, and private equity firm Harith Sócios Gerais.

Toto, of which Gigaba is the only shareholder, even presented an expression of interest in SAA, but the request was rejected within days, according to the documents. The government said it had several interested buyers in the months leading up to the announcement of the Takatso sale, but never identified them.

SAA then returned to flying to nine domestic and international destinations with a fleet of six Airbus jets.


About Abhishek Pratap

Food maven. Unapologetic travel fanatic. MCU's fan. Infuriatingly humble creator. Award-winning pop culture ninja.

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