EFF: SA Express sale part of move by Pravin Gordhan to sell state assets to his friends

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The Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) say they are disgusted by the government’s disposal of the South African Express as it was sold for way less than it owed.

The party said that the R50 million paid for the airline was not even going to “scratch the surface of the total debt of SA Express”.

“The EFF note with disgust the sale of South African Express Airways to an entity called Fly SAX, for a paltry R50 million. It must be noted that SA Express owes its creditors a total of R980 million, and it owes SA Revenue Service [Sars] R150 million and about R183 million to workers,” the party said in a statement.

The party said the privatization of SA Express was one of the dishonest arrangements of the “protagonists” of the new forms of state capture, to “run down” state-owned enterprises and sell them at a reduced price, just like South African Airways (SAA).

“The privatization of SA Express is one of the many dishonest orchestrated manoeuvres to deliberately collapse strategic state-owned assets by Pravin Gordhan, only to sell them to his friends and family at a reduced price,” said the EFF.

Furthermore, the party said the government was at the centre of the failure of both SA Express and SAA, dating back to 2016 when then-deputy president Cyril Ramaphosa and Pravin Gordhan (as finance minister) took full charge of state enterprises.

“The rapid degeneration of SA Express, dysfunctional management, non-payment of workers’ salaries, and unmanageable debts could have been prevented if the government was interested in building state capacity,” the party said.

The EFF said SA Express had played a vital role in the country’s hospitality, travel, and tourism industry. And has continued to serve major local and regional economic hubs that were previously not served by mainstream airlines.

-The Citizen

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