Flash Briefing: SAA needs modern fleet to be competitive; Pepkor on refurb spree after July riots; upcoming elections

  • South African Airways will need a more modern fleet to be competitive on routes outside its home continent following the Covid-19 crisis, according to interim Chief Executive Officer Thomas Kgokolo. The state-owned airline used to generate revenue on trips to cities such as London and Frankfurt, but its aging Airbus SE planes have prohibitive operating costs, he said in a panel discussion on Wednesday. “If we get the right fleet for those particular trips we should be able to minimize costs and become competitive,” Kgokolo said. SAA is set to restart operations next week after emerging from bankruptcy proceedings, about 18 months after the fleet was grounded at the start of the coronavirus pandemic. 
  • Pepkor Holdings is rapidly reopening stores after violent unrest in South Africa in July caused as much as R1.3bn damage to about 550 shops, or 10% of its total. The country’s biggest clothes retailer will have resumed trading in as many as 380 outlets by the end of September, Chief Executive Officer Leon Lourens said in an interview. By mid-November as many as 460 will have got back in business, he said. Progress has been “remarkable” and hasn’t impacted the company’s typical annual store opening program, the CEO said. The company’s biggest chain is Pep, which specialises in lower-cost clothing and is a staple of town centres around the country. The cost of refurbishing the outlets with new lights, tiles, shelving and apparel has been about R1.2bn to R1.3bn, Lourens said.
  • Cooperative Governance Minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma says the Democratic Alliance is trying to breach the separation of powers by asking the Constitutional Court to take over the responsibilities of the Independent Electoral Commission. The party is trying to get a court order that forces the IEC to shut down the registration of party candidates. The ANC missed the deadline to register candidates in 93 wards for the upcoming elections. The DA has accused the IEC of favouring the ANC and prejudicing other parties by allowing the ruling party to make up for this error.
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