SAA to fly SA Olympic teams

2012-04-10 12:49

Johannesburg - South African Airways (SAA) will contribute R4.7 million to carry South Africa's teams to London for the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

The announcement, which came close to 100 days before the start of the Games, was made at a signing ceremony jointly hosted by SAA and the SA Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (SASCOC) in Kempton Park on Tuesday.

Speaking at the event, the chairperson of the SAA board of directors, Cheryl Carolus, said they were honoured to support the teams by flying them to London.

The sponsorship comes in the form of air tickets which allows participating athletes and officials to fly with the national carrier for both quadrennial Games.

The occasion was attended by a host of dignitaries including the Minister of Public Enterprises, Malusi Gigaba, and the Minister of Sport and Recreation, Fikile Mbalula.

SASCOC president Gideon Sam said they had spoken to a Qatari airline about a possible sponsorship, but SAA did not want to allow a foreign country to be the official carrier of the national team.

“I have to say that patience is indeed a virtue," Sam said.

"We have been 'courting' SAA for some time now although we were obviously mindful that the current economic situation worldwide is impacting on all businesses.

"A chance meeting with the SAA chairperson created that gap for us to raise the matter again.

"She was adamant that it would be over her dead body that the pride of South Africa must be transported to and from the Games on a foreign carrier.

“The rest is history and here we are today to say thank you to a most welcome new partner.”

Mbalula said all athletes in the SA team needed to understand that they were ambassadors and would have to sharpen their tools to represent the hopes of millions of South Africans.

He added that sponsors were a vital cog in the country's Olympic aspirations.

“These people in sport don’t have a floating budget, they rely on things and support from SAA and other parastatals,” Mbalula said.

“And if you threaten us now about banning alcohol adverts, we are going to go down and down in terms of support.

“So, I hope SAA will increase the amount when you ban alcohol, from R4 million to R10 million.”

Mbalula said sponsorships needed to extend beyond the London Olympic Games as the future of South African sport was geared towards 2032.

“I know our team will do us proud. We are targeting 12 medals,” he said.

“If we do less, please do not be angry with us, our preparations are afoot and we still need your support in both carrying our team and injecting financial money into the federations.

“We need money, not just flying tickets, because we must pay people, and most of these people, they don’t work, they are volunteers.”


  • hannes.handogg - 2012-04-10 12:55

    Good lord, is this news!? Who else would have done it? Nationwide?

      Fredster - 2012-04-10 15:00

      Now we must just get SA to make their kit as well, and not China

      Inky - 2012-04-10 18:17

      Last I heard the Springboks do did not fly SAA. Is this still so ?

  • roberta.keeling - 2012-04-10 13:20

    And after that "magnificent" contribution, they'll run off to government again for another hand out. From Taxpayers Money. What a way to run a business.

      Ze Don - 2012-04-10 13:46

      My thoughts exactly!

      Andrew - 2012-04-10 14:08

      The taxpayer is footing the bill once again but hopefully this is for a good cause and Team SA will do us all proud.

  • Compos - 2012-04-10 13:48

    And it is only R4,7M because they are so over-priced. I bet another company will be able to do it for half... lol...

  • nancy.allen9 - 2012-04-10 13:53

    As an aviation enthusiast, I have to wonder if they will paint another "Crazy Olympic" plane, maybe they could use one of the new A330's for that role - it would look great!

  • Attie - 2012-04-10 13:58

    what about velvet it is a b e e company ?

      nancy.allen9 - 2012-04-10 14:01

      Nope, their planes are not able to fly that far, or they could but would need to refuel many times along the way - I think SAA will do a sterling job!

      hannes.handogg - 2012-04-10 14:55

      Nancy. Do you work for SAA? :)

      nancy.allen9 - 2012-04-11 22:42

      @hannes - No I don't work for SAA, wish I did though :-)

  • phathuchicos - 2012-04-10 15:43

    SAA is bad based on the comments im seeing...but have you ever compared business and economy products of colonial giants like BA, AirFran, Luftan and Iberia or just swiss you will see the difference and why SAA is going to do a job welldone...

  • Fazel - 2012-04-10 15:43

    Velvet Sky would have done it but they are going through a name change as they haven't been in the sky for quite a while.

  • tshepoletsipa - 2012-04-10 16:21

    DUH!!!! which other airline should they fly with?

      Inky - 2012-04-10 21:03

      BA, like the Springboks !

  • Willie - 2012-04-10 17:47

    Let's do it right this time; the athletes are the important "cargo" provide them with business class comforts and if need be economy class for the administrators who in 2008 over indulged in business class while the athletes traveled economy class. Administrators and support managers, you do not deserve better than the athletes. Please don't repeat your behaviour of 2008

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