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By Andre Janse van Vuuren
(Bloomberg) — South Africa’s Police Service will start an investigation into the country’s state-owned airline, which is facing mounting financial losses while remaining reliant on government support.
“We have an investigation that we will be conducting and the SAA board has been informed,” Hangwani Mulaudzi, a spokesman for the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigations, known as the Hawks, said by phone on Wednesday. “There is a specific issue that we will be dealing with, but we are not able to speak about it now.”
Business Report, a Johannesburg-based daily newspaper, earlier reported that the Hawks intend to probe charges of corruption and the irregular closure of routes by the airline. Tlali Tlali, a spokesman for SAA, couldn’t immediately comment when contacted by phone.
South Africa’s national carrier last week appointed its seventh acting or permanent chief executive officer in less than four years as it applied to renegotiate a plane-leasing arrangement with Airbus Group SE, a deal struck earlier this year, in order to save about 1.4 billion rand ($97 million). SAA has yet to publish its results for the year to March and has been given a Jan. 15-deadline to do so.
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