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IFP MP Mario GR Oriani-Ambrosini has called on the ANC and the Minister of
Public Enterprises to utilise its statutory rights to save the FIFA World
Cup from foreseeable, impeding catastrophe.
He called on them to instruct SAA to run a six months promotion of South
Africa as a tourist destination, with all airfares lower than USD999.
Nowadays, most of those whom we expect to be World Cup tourists have the
option to a comparable tourist destination for as little as USD300. The
astronomic airfares charged by SAA have turned South Africa into a
non-competitive tourist destination.
Ambrosini made his proposal during today's meeting of the Portfolio
Committee of Public Enterprises, which was scheduled to grill SAA on its
alleged collusive practises with other airlines, to increase prices from now
to after the World Cup. SAA refused to attend and sent its General Council
to argue that the matter was subjudice and could not be discussed. The
Committee was incensed and requested that the full management of SAA appear
before the Committee within a week.
Ambrosini pointed out that the subjudice rule has been declared by the Court
of Appeal as unconstitutional, as it violates freedom of speech. The
Committee's Chairperson endorsed this approach and told SAA General Council
not to hide behind the subjudice rule when they return next week.
One cannot underestimate the importance of this matter. Europe, North
America, and the Arab World alike are now cash-strapped. If too few tourists
come to South Africa public and private investments made for the World Cup
will not be recuperated, which will affect us all. By forcing SAA to reduce
its pricing to USD999 other airlines are likely to follow suit. This will
break the very collusive practises Parliament wishes to investigate. Failing
to take such an initiative will make both the Parliamentary exercise and the
inquiry by the Competition Commission futile as they both will be concluded
long after the World Cup has come and gone.