Johannesburg – Takatso Aviation (Pty) Ltd on Monday announced that it has appointed veteran journalist Thulasizwe Simelane as its new spokesperson.
Takatso Aviation – the company acquiring a 51% stake in SAA that is 80% owned by Harith General Partners – said Simelane’s appointment would “ensure improved transparency and bolster understanding of the South African Airways (SAA) Strategic Equity Partnership transaction”.
Simelane’s appointment comes at a critical time, as Takatso Aviation continues to steer the SAA transaction through competition regulatory processes.
“These processes, along with the fulfilment of several key conditions from the part of the government, will ultimately see the company invest R3 billion for the future growth of the national carrier, thus lessening the burden on the fiscus,” Takatso said in a statement.
“Takatso stands ready to make this investment and set SAA on a path towards becoming an agile, competitive, sustainable and commercially viable airline.”
The statement said Takatso sees SAA as an important vehicle that contributes to economic growth, as well as regional and continental trade and integration.
Takatso Aviation Director Tshepo Mahloele said: “As Takatso Aviation, we understand that SAA is a national asset and a symbol of pride for many South Africans.
“When properly managed, it is also an important vehicle for economic growth, both regionally and across the continent.
“Therefore, we understand the importance of bringing South Africans on this journey with us,”
On the appointment of a new spokesperson, Mahloele said: “In his new role, Thulasizwe [Simelene] will be the key point of contact for media, to ensure South Africans are informed on the process aimed at setting the national carrier on a financially sustainable and competitive path.
“He will further ensure that we promote transparency and understanding by the public of this Transaction.”
Mahloele said Simelane brings 21 years of experience in journalism, including significant experience in communications making him “well-placed to communicate on developments on the transaction in which so many stakeholders including the public have a vested interest”.
Speaking for the first time about his appointment, Simelane said: “I am looking forward to being part of the Takatso Aviation team and adding my voice to bring South Africans closer to the unfolding story of a new and exciting era for SAA”.
Simelane added: “I know how it feels to get on an SAA flight, say after a stint abroad, and get that warm feeling of being home, almost instantly.
“We want to restore that national pride, while also ensuring that our national carrier is well and efficiently managed, achieving long-term commercial viability.”