The ANC have announced that there are no plans to shut down South African Airways (SAA) but it will instead initiate discussions with its alliance partners to ensure steps are taken to address the problems that the airline has been experiencing.
The ANC was responding to concern expressed by the Economic Freedom Fighters which criticised Finance Minister Tito Mboweni for telling investors in New York that he personally believed the national airline should be closed.
SAA is said to be losing billions of rands annually and has been bailed out by government on a number of occasions in the past few years.
ANC secretary-general Ace Magashule said: “The NEC [national executive committee] will soon discuss with its alliance partners urgent and sustainable steps to address the problems with state-owned enterprises as strategic assets in the economy.
“There is no intention to shut down South African Airways. The focus now is on decisively tackling the challenges besetting the national carrier.”
The ANC had been forced to seriously consider the concerns raised by coloured and Indian groups. At its meeting in Irene, east of Pretoria, on Saturday, the NEC decided to note that the groups felt marginalised and excluded from other groups.
Magashule said they stood by the Congress Alliance between the ANC, the Coloured People’s Organisation and the South African Indian Congresses and the pledge in the Freedom Charter that South Africa belongs to all and that all national groups shall have equal rights.
The ANC remained committed to non-racialism as its the bedrock, he said.
“We acknowledge that this principle has been, to a certain extent, deviated from over the last period and the ANC recommitted itself to, in deed and action, starting within its own ranks, ensure that it remains a truly non-racial movement,” he said.
Magashule reiterated the party’s decision that no ANC official may participate in any secret factional meeting.
Although he did not say it, he was clearly referring to his recent meeting with former president Jacob Zuma, and former North West premier Supra Mahumapelo and their supporters, allegedly to strategise on a plot to topple President Cyril Ramaphosa.
Magashule came under sharp criticism by some members of the NEC for holding such a meeting as he is part of the current leadership.
“No meeting about the ANC or its operations may be held without knowledge and reports,” he said. Instead, as a way to build unity and cohesion within the ANC, there was a need to rebuild operational trust through greater transparency and accountability, including producing reports on meetings.
Members would be expected to engage one another directly without fear or favour and the party undertook to enforce its communications protocol as a way to counter the social media impact.
Although the Gauteng provincial structure accepted the resignation of chief whip Brian Hlongwa, the party would still allow Hlongwa and Qedani Mahlangu to remain as members and to serve on its provincial executive committee.