Former DG Kgathatso Tlhakudi has accused Gordhan of orchestrating the sale ‘in an irregular manner’.

Public Enterprises portfolio committee chairperson Khaya Magaxa has proposed that the Special Investigating Unit (SIU) be tasked with investigating alleged irregularities in the collapsed South African Airways (SAA) – Takatso strategic equity partnership.

Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan announced the scrapping of the deal to sell 51% of SAA shares to Takatso consortium last week.

ALSO READ: Gordhan provides 3 reasons why SAA deal with Takatso has been scrapped

While the collapse of the deal has been widely celebrated, calls for the investigation into the process that led to the selection of the equity partner have escalated.

The Public Enterprises portfolio committee met on Wednesday to deliberate and finalise the report of the committee on the petition of the former Director-General (DG) on allegations of irregularity on the deal.

Former DG Kgathatso Tlhakudi laid a complaint against Minister Pravin Gordhan in Parliament, that the sale of SAA “was orchestrated in an irregular manner by Gordhan to benefit a few privileged individuals who were favoured by the minister”.

ALSO READ: Gordhan says controversial SAA sale to Takatso being renegotiated

Tlhakudi, dismissed from his position in June 2023, has also claimed that he never signed a document proposing Takatso as strategic equity partner.

Gordhan has previously dismissed as “baseless” the allegations by Tlhakudi that he interfered and handpicked the Takatso Consortium as the preferred bidder to purchase the 51% shareholding in SAA.

“These claims are patently false and are emblematic of someone who is refusing to be held accountable, and is instead clutching at straws, and looking for public sympathy through deception and lies,” Gordhan said.

The committee on Wednesday said the SIU should be roped in to investigate the allegations.

ALSO READ: SAA sale controversy: Parliamentary meeting may reveal details

“Law enforcement agencies must do their work in unravelling the truth about this transaction, particularly the alleged forgery of the former DG’s signature in the equity appointment process. I think that is the understanding that I would wish the committee to look [at] when we go in,” said Magaxa.

“One would ask where are the documents and all that – I think we got what we wanted in those documents, all that was left in the documents was to discover or establish after all the other documents we received, whether Takatso was among the four companies that were shortlisted. We have noticed that it was not among those companies.

“Takatso of course made it to that list after RMB, a transactional adviser left, and then the department developed a new team within itself and in the finalisation of the process, then included Takatso.

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“Even the manner in which that process was completed is questionable in the sense that the department did not have the capacity, hence they decided to outsource. It’s questionable that in their decision to continue with the process, they could not advertise again to get an agent that was to play the same role that was played by RMB.”

SIU must probe Takatso-SAA deal

UDM chief whip Nqaba Kwankwa also supported the proposal of roping in the SIU for the investigation, saying Parliament does not have the investigative ability to do so.

“It’s not even our primary mandate to do so, to be able to scrutinise and look into these things and do further investigations. Indeed, we agree with the suggestion that the SIU and other relevant law enforcement agencies should be tasked with the process of investigating this matter forward, so that those who are found at fault as far as this transaction is concerned are held to account without fear or favour,” he said.

ALSO READ: ‘He’s made a mess of SAA sale’ – Ramaphosa urged to fire Gordhan over Takatso deal


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