South African Airways is an "unfixable mess"


Honorary Master
Aug 23, 2013


Senior Member
Jun 29, 2009
Haha, yes true 26 million affluent Australians versus 5 million in SA. Nice comparison.
Your "5 million [affluent] South Africans" is probably more directly comparable with New Zealand than "New Zealand's West Island": national population currently estimated at 4.97 million. There is another significant parallel: we are an isolated island nation in the South Pacific with our nearest neighbours (who, of course, we love to loathe!) a 3 hour flight away, and as such, one could argue that we are as much at "the arse end of the planet" as South Africa is.

I invite you to peruse Air New Zealand's financial results, which you may find here.


Expert Member
Aug 7, 2012
Newsflash: SAA’s would-be Russian funder surfaces at State Capture Commission

Fresh evidence appears to expose BNP Capital’s scheme to extract cash from South African Airways.

BNP Capital stood to rake in more than R300-million for a capital-raising deal with South African Airways and when that crashed amid a public outcry, former SAA chairperson Dudu Myeni single-handedly signed off on a R49.9-million cancellation fee to the company.

Grissag AG, a company belonging to Free State businessman Pieter Van der Merwe and a Russian financier, Sergey Pokusaev, was installed into three different bids to help SAA raise R15-billion to consolidate its debt portfolio under highly questionable and controversial circumstances in 2015/2016.

Testifying at the State Capture Commission on Friday, June 14, Van der Merwe explained how a BNP Capital representative contacted him to partner on the deal.

This was after two earlier bids involving Grissag were unsuccessful. Once because it had failed an SAA due diligence and a second time because National Treasury had blocked the Free State Development Corporation (FDC) from stepping outside its mandate to try and bail out SAA through a partnership with Grissag.

Van der Merwe took the Commission through each of the failed partnerships and then described as “false” claims by BNP Capital, a middleman, that the company had to pay Grissag $5-million as a result of SAA cancelling the deal.

SAA was forced to terminate the deal amid a threat of legal action by civic organisation Outa. Van der Merwe testified about claims contained in letters that BNP’s then CEO, Daniel Mahlangu, had written to SAA as the deal was disintegrating.

Mahlangu had motivated for a 50% cancellation fee and told the airline that Grissag had incurred costs relating to the fund-raising deal that included efforts by Chinese, Brazilian and Abu Dhabi investors. Not true, said Van der Merwe, adding that Grissag’s funders were not known to anyone, let alone BNP Capital. “Our funders have never been disclosed to anyone, they’re definitely not Chinese or Brazilian.” Asked about the multimillion-dollar cancellation fee that BNP had motivated for, Van der Merwe again said, not true. “There was no contract so there was no basis for a cancellation fee.” BNP had told SAA that the cancellation fee was to cover expenses such as flying Grissag executives around the world to drive the fund-raising bid. Mahlangu, in his letters, had explained that four Grissag directors had been dispatched to Paris – they allegedly came from Brazil, Canada and Russia.

The Commission heard that Mahlangu sent SAA a second letter for the cancellation fee, this time revising the amount to R49.9-million.

When confronted with the request for board approval, Myeni merely said: “I approve,” the Commission heard.


Executive Member
Jul 5, 2009


Honorary Master
Feb 7, 2004
Haha, yes true 26 million affluent Australians versus 5 million in SA. Nice comparison.
Or you could simply point us to the business school literature that details how an entity can remain highly successful while it is looted. Or the section that details how a business built on a middle class of 4, 5 million is guaranteed to fail once that middle class grows to 7,5 million.