DA: Listing Acsa would have promoted BEE

Listing the Airports Company of South Africa (Acsa) instead of “de-privatising” 20% could have promoted broad-based black economic empowerment (BEE), the Democratic Alliance said on Friday.

“This would have broadened the ownership of one of South Africa’s most successful parastatals and, with a targeted listing like Telkom’s Khulisa offer, could have promoted broad-based black ownership,” said Pierre Rabie, the DA’s public enterprises spokesperson.

This followed the announcement that the Public Investment Corporation (PIC) had concluded negotiations to acquire a 20% stake in Acsa for R1,675-billion.

The stake was being purchased on behalf of the Government Employees Pension Fund (GEPF)—the PIC’s largest client—and would be acquired from Italian airports company Aeroporti di Roma.

“As one of the world’s leading airports’ companies with good returns and positive long-term growth prospects, Acsa is an attractive investment for the GEPF,” the company said in a statement on Friday.

“Additionally, the transaction offers the GEPF an opportunity to increase its property investments and provides certainty to Acsa as it implements its strategic capital expenditure projects ahead of the 2010 Soccer World Cup.”

Rabie said more private ownership could have opened the door to a degree of competition that would enhance efficiency.

“[It] could even bring down tariffs to the benefit of the tourism industry.”

Following newspaper reports that the government was “hostile” to the idea of an initial public offer, Rabie plans to ask Minister of Transport Jeff Radebe in Parliament to establish the background to the decision not to list a portion of the parastatal.

“I will also ask about further plans for a possible listing now that the government controls over 90% of Acsa,” he said.—Sapa

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