I agree SAA has to be privatized. I also understand what the SA government is trying to do. The want to return it into profitability first before privatizing it. Unfortunately the government bureaucracy outweighs their desire. So they may reach a time where they have no choice but to sell it 'as is'.
I don't know if you have flown SAA recently but living in Botswana and SA for the first half of my life, and now in Malawi. SAA has always been my main carrier. And I find their service to be absolutely impeccable. The drama in the boardroom hardly affects the service in the sky. Even though their aircraft are old I still prefer to fly them over ET cause for me there is just no competition. I have tried KQ as well. They are better than ET but SA service still shines. This is comparing African carriers only.
Is it a shell of its former glory, in some ways yes, less routes, no longer continually improving their fleet, their finances are a mess. But what they do in the sky, they do right, it's still a company South Africans should be proud of. And by no means a turd.
My experiences of SA, both LH and SH over the past 10 years, have been iffy at best. No hard product consistency, soft product is good, but not consistent either. Yes, ET lacks that certain finesse that SA does have right, but from a fleet and network perspective, that knock SA dead. I've flown MS, ET, KQ, SA and BA/MN and honestly, ET was the most consistent. You never have a dream flight, but its always the same, and their offering is never lacking, its always enough! At half the price, sometimes less, up front, I can't justify SA, ever!
With regards the SA Govt, they should be ashamed! They couldn't manage their way out of a wet paper bag, and have run it into the ground. SA needed to be privatised 20 years ago, hell, even 10 years ago, anything they do now, is just putting a band-aid on a GSW. Too little, too late. They will not, and have not learned how to play this game, and never will. Shut it down, or sell as is, and hope someone else can do a better job.
If ET can manage, then so can SA, there is just no excuse. I cannot be proud of SA! You can put all the lipstick you like on it, it's still a very sick pig!