Novick believes the funding needed to restart SAA ‘hasn’t been committed’

Gidon Novick, who until last Monday was on the board of the conglomerate that plans to acquire a 51% stake in South African Airways (SAA), believes that the funding needed to restart the national airline has not been committed.

The Takatso group consists of Global Aviation Operations – which would provide the necessary aviation skills and is represented by Novick – and Harith General Partners, which is responsible for raising the 3 billion RUA needed to restart the airline.

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Novick resigned as CEO of Takatso due to a lack of transparency and information that hindered his ability to fulfill his fiduciary duties as a director of the conglomerate.

Speaking to Moneyweb, Novick said that when he resigned it appeared that the R3 billion had not been committed.

“The contract always needed two things. It needed skills and it needed resources; we were to be the talent and Harith was to bring the capital.

“I guess they’re both in there [doubt now] because the question of the capital, which was one of the questions I had to understand better as a director, certainly does not seem to have been committed.”

Reason for termination shared

However, Tshepo Mahloele, CEO of Harith General Partners and chairman of the association, has said that the issues surrounding Novick’s layoff center are conflicts of interest that the team has been managing since February.

Speaking to SAfm Market Update during a Moneyweb interview, Mahloele said Novick had asked for sensitive information about SAA’s operations that could not be disclosed to competitors.

Novick is the co-founder of the startup airline Lift, which on December 10 will have been in operation for two years.

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Mahloele also said that Lift had approached SAA about a possible codeshare, interline and profit-sharing partnership.

Efforts by Moneyweb to reach Mahloele were unsuccessful.

Novick said Lift executives did not request any sensitive business information regarding SAA.

Global Aviation is focusing on the financing, which is “obviously a very material part of the deal.”

“The simple question was, ‘Has that capital been committed?’

“I don’t think anyone is expecting that capital to be in the bank now, but has it been committed, even if it’s a condition?”

Novick also dismissed claims that Global asked for R1 billion for Lift to merge with SAA and wanted control of the airline once it joined, as reported in a Sunday Times report.

Global Aviation retains its stake in Takatso.

Read: SAA is stuck in the past [Nov 2022]

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