/ 14 November 2022

SAA deal: Takatso confirms CEO Gidon Novick’s resignation

South African New Airline Lift Sneak Preview
Gidon Novick (left). (Photo by Brenton Geach/Gallo Images via Getty Images)

The Takatso consortium, which last year was announced as the chosen new majority shareholder of SAA, has confirmed Gidon Novick’s resignation from its board.

Novick, who is the co-founder of budget airline Lift, told News24 of his resignation on Monday. He reportedly cited a lack of transparency regarding the progress of the transaction, which was 15 months ago, but has yet to be concluded.

The deal, which would see Takatso take a 51% stake of SAA as the government’s strategic equity partner, has been mired in controversy. 

In a review of the transaction, the auditor general found that the department of public enterprises had not followed a formal process for the invitation, evaluation and adjudication of proposals from interested parties to identify the preferred strategic equity partner.

On Monday evening, Takatso said it regarded Novick’s resignation as appropriate considering the inherent conflicts of interest in relation to the SAA transaction.

“Takatso is currently pursuing the SAA transaction’s merger clearance by the competition authorities and seeks to comply with the relevant legislation at all times,” the consortium said.

“Lift is a competitor to SAA and the Takatso board has identified the potential conflicts of interest between the consortium and Lift and has sought to manage these throughout the course of the transaction. This includes the establishment of appropriate confidentiality and information management regimes in the spirit of maintaining fair competition in the

South African airline market and in compliance with South Africa’s competition regulations.”

Takatso continues to work closely with the department of public enterprises to conclude the acquisition of a controlling interest in SAA, the consortium said in its statement.