By BO Staff Writer
Do you remember Coleman Andrews? The man who sold South African Airways (SAA) aircrafts then leased them back through foreign companies linked to him? Do you remember how Andrews bankrupted SAA and then gave himself a R200 million “hand shake” for less than two years work?
Now, this man has been brought back through the back door by Pravin Gordhan to come “fix” the SAA. This is surreal.
History is set to repeat itself as Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan brings back Bain & Company to consult at SAA. Bain & Company was first brought into SAA by then CEO Andrews. At the time, Bain & Company received over R350 million in consultancy fees from SAA over a period of less than two years. It remains unclear what services they rendered to the airline as Andrews failed to produce reports justifying why so much was spent on consultancies.
Andrews also failed to disclose his interests in the company as founder of Bain Capital. The Times reports that the same company has now been procured by Treasury to provide advisory services on SAA’s corporate strategy.
It is rather curious that Andrews’ company, which showed no regard for good governance and procurement procedures and arguably did a lot of the damage that SAA is yet to recover from, is now, 15 years later, being brought back into the very same organization they looted – ostensibly to “help turn it around”.
Also curious is Bain & Company’s partnership on the bid with South African advisory services company, Abacus, which have no experience in aviation.
One cannot help but view these latest developments with the scepticism and suspicion they inspire. The current chairperson of the SAA board Dudu Myeni has been complaining about continued looting at the SAA by white capital. It seems Gordhan is using his position as minister responsible for SAA to facilitate looting by white foreign companies.
Bringing back Bain is also spitting on the face of the current chairperson of the board who has been trying to safeguard the interests of SAA.
A real worrying factor is that Bain seems to be briefed by Treasury to privatise parts of SAA. Black First Land First (BLF) had, in September, asked the president to institute a judicial commission of inquiry on both Coleman Andrews and Bain. BLF says it will write a letter to the president asking for his intervention.
SAA must be protected from Pravin Gordhan and his looting friends.