South Africa: government announces bailout for South African Airways

A South African Airways plane, March 14, 2020 in Polokwane, South Africa.

AFP / Guillem Sartorio

Text by: RFI Follow

2 min

The South African government will inject 10 billion rand, or nearly 640 million dollars, into the state-owned South African Airways (SAA) to save it from disaster.

On the other hand, this rescue plan will leave four-fifths of the staff on the back burner and the fleet will be drastically reduced. 


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President Cyril Ramaphosa made it an imperative, a matter of national pride.

The South African flag, an 86-year-old company, had to be saved at all costs.

We now know this price: 640 million dollars, a staff reduced to the maximum, to 1,000 employees against 5,000 previously.

And a fleet that will grow from 44 to six aircraft.

South African Airways (SAA), 

in bankruptcy proceedings for nearly a year

, shut down for several weeks, will survive but will not soon regain its former glory.

Scuttled by years of incompetence and corruption


The company, which has not made a profit for ten years, had become the symbol of corruption during the years of the Jacob Zuma regime, " 

scuttled by years of incompetence and corruption

 ", to use the words of a former Deputy General Director.

The rescue of the company came at the cost of an intense battle within the government between the Ministry of Public Enterprises and the Ministry of Finance.

The government is divided on the attitude to take towards public enterprises, almost all of them in debt.

Cyril Ramaphosa also warned ten days ago that they should tighten their belts.

► Read also: South African Airways, Africa's 2nd largest airline, on the verge of bankruptcy


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  • South Africa

  • Aeronautics

  • Cyril Ramaphosa

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