From BusinessDay of 20 October 2005:
SAA-Transnet split awaits new laws
THE separation of South African Airways (SAA) from parent company Transnet would be delayed at least until the end of next year due to the legislative processes that have to be followed, Transnet CEO Maria Ramos said yesterday.
Transnet had earmarked SAA as one of the 13 noncore assets it wanted to dispose of in the next seven months.
The restructuring is aimed at focusing Transnet on rail, ports and petroleum pipelines.
Transnet said its exit from businesses not involved in bulk freight transport would take place through a transfer of ownership directly to government, through sale or through closure.
Ownership of SAA, commuter rail service provider Metrorail and sister company Shosholoza Meyl will be transferred to the transport department.
Ramos told the Johannesburg Press Club yesterday transferring SAA to government required separate legislation to facilitate the process.
Transnet had initially expected the transfer of SAA’s ownership to take place in March next year, but Ramos said the process was more likely to be completed towards the end of next year.
With the appointment of Karl Socikwa to drive the restructuring, Transnet said it was on track to re-engineer itself and to focus on improving efficiency, reducing costs and rebuilding its reputation.
Ramos said turning Transnet around was important for SA given its leading role in the economy. “We just cannot afford to fail because we are an important part of this economy.”
The companies earmarked for sale are a 49% stake in the airport baggage handling company Equity Aviation; a 26% stake in the V&A Waterfront; a 60% interest in fleet management company Viamax; and wholly owned Translux and City to City bus services operator Autopax. The luxury Blue Train will be leased under a long-term contract.