takatso consortium saa

Who is Takatso Consortium? – Everything we know about SAA new owners

Andile Sicetsha - 11.06.2021

SAA has new owners, Takatso Consortium. Here is a full breakdown of everything we know about the entities that make up this conglomerate.

An unsettling wave of panic has landed on South Africa’s political runway, following the announcement that 51% ownership of SAA will be handed over to Takatso Consortium.

Government unburdens itself from SAA woes

After years of nosediving financial losses, Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan revealed, on Friday, that the national carrier will be sold to private interests.

“Government and the ANC [have] indicated over some time the intention to restructure SAA. The airline was placed into business rescue in December 2019 and since then our objective has been to ensure a viable and competitive airline and once launched, not reliant on the fiscus,” Gordhan noted at Friday’s briefing.

The consortium, made up of Harith General Partners and Global Aviation, will own 51% of SAA, with the government holding on to a firm minority stake of 49%.

This move effectively takes the flailing airline out of Treasury’s books, a historic decision that marks a turn in the government’s handling of state-owned entities.

A completely new restructuring will be set in place at the airline. Minister Gordhan explained that the new board will be elected on the basis of ownership, of which, the government will automatically claim 33%.

“Once the due diligence exercise is completed, we will keep the public further informed about the exact launch dates and more,” he added.

What we know about Takatso Consortium

Takatso Consortium is the latest name to top the trends list, following the historic announcement made by Gordhan.

From what we understand, the consortium is made up of two entities, Harith and Global Aviation.

Harith is a fund manager that specialises in infrastructure development in Africa. The largely black-owned fund manager in charge of an asset portfolio worth R8.56 billion ($630 million), is manned by:

  • Phillip Jabulani Moleketi – Chairman
  • Tshepo Mahloele – Group Executive Director
  • Alwyn Wessels – Deputy CEO; and a list of non-executive directors.

Harith also owns Lanseria International Airport. Global Aviation, on the other hand, is a local airline that boasts itself as “the Uber of airlines.”

While no information exists on the ownership of Global Aviation, we did stumble on a report that named former Uber executive Jonathan Ayache, Kulula-founder Gidon Novick and CEO of Global Aviation Quentin Tomaselli as owners of the airline.

Will SAA get a new name?

At this time, no further information has been released on the future plans that lie ahead for the dead-in-the-water SAA. However, what has been confirmed so far is:

  • SAA will certainly be renamed;
  • the airline will, in future, be publicly listed on the JSE;
  • a mass employment equity initiative will be rolled out to recruit local aviation employees; and
  • the aim is to relaunch SAA as an iconic South African brand, and a viable, sustainable, scalable and agile airline.

“The partnership represents a robust, exciting South African-bred solution. Harith, as owners of Lanseria International Airport, has significant experience in the transport infrastructure and aviation sectors. We have deployed more than a billion dollars into a portfolio of critical infrastructure assets across the African continent that support regional economies.

“Global’s operating model is unique, highly efficient and fit for purpose for a newly launched airline. The Consortium has empowerment at its heart and a unique blend of skills and experience,” Consortium Chair Tshepo Mahloele said.