-3.7 C
Sofia
Sunday, January 23, 2022

News24.com | Chris Hart leads fundraising to try and save SA Express

Chris Hart, executive chair of venture capital firm Global Impact Investments, is leading the fundraising efforts to try and save state-owned regional airline SA Express. Picture: Supplied

  • Chris Hart, executive chair of Global Impact Investments, is leading fundraising efforts to try and save SA Express.
  • The state-owned regional airline has been in provisional liquidation for almost two years, since April 2020.
  • A consortium of former SA Express employees is trying to save the airline and asked Hart to lead the fundraising efforts. 

Chris Hart, executive chair of venture capital firm Global Impact Investments, is leading the fundraising efforts to try and save state-owned regional airline SA Express (SAX).

Hart says he was approached by Fly SAX, the preferred bidder, in November last year to help facilitate investments based on a more targeted crowdfunding approach.

SAX has been in provisional liquidation since April 2020 after its business rescue process failed. The return date for a liquidation application was once again extended on Tuesday, this time to 4 July this year, to see if a suitable deal to sell the airline can take place. 

The postponement has been welcomed by Fly SAX, a consortium of former employees chosen by the provisional liquidators already in the second half of 2020 as the preferred bidder to buy the airline. Fly SAX has been trying get the necessary funding via a crowdsourcing platform, but without enough success.

Although Hart is not part of the consortium, he will be assisting the bidders to try and take over SAX and make it commercially viable. Some equity crowdfunding will be involved in the process.

“This is a very high impact project, both on a micro and macro economic level, with enormous potential multipliers – especially for outlying areas in SA to be connected and integrated to regional economies,” says Hart. “We are looking at a comprehensive approach from both a passenger and cargo point of view and do not intend to compete on already well-serviced routes like that between Johannesburg and Cape Town.

He emphasises that the process is entirely private sector driven and without any government involvement. “It is being run purely on commercial merit,” he says. The idea is to be a niche player and complement existing route networks in the country as a feeder airline.”

The recently released first part of the Zondo Commission report found SA Express was also affected by state capture.

“That was then, but this is now, and all members of the rescue team are confident that if it can be efficiently, safely, and ethically run, this vital element of SA’s transport infrastructure can be saved – and it will fly again,” says Hart.

Hart was previously a senior economist at Absa and a global market strategist at Standard Bank. He was initially suspended, but eventually resigned from the Standard Bank five years ago after a controversial tweet in which he claimed that apartheid victims had a “sense of entitlement”.

James Mackreides
'Mac' is a short tempered former helicopter pilot , now a writer based in Sofia, Bulgaria. Loves dogs, the outdoors and staying far away from the ocean.

Related Articles

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Latest Articles