The Democratic Alliance (DA) claims to have seen a letter where Minister of Public Enterprises Pravin Gordhan calls for the moratorium on the retrenchments of South African Airways (SAA) employees. This letter comes after the Minister had engagements with representatives of the unions and non-unionised employees of SAA on saving the airline.
The DA in a statement says they have the deepest respect and sympathy for the employees of SAA and that every effort should be made to afford them a fair retrenchment package.
“It is now time for Minister Gordhan to remove himself from this process and allow Les Matuson and Siviwe Dongwana, the SAA business rescue practitioners (BRPs) to do the work and make the decisions that they are mandated to do.”
According to the Companies Act, 71 of 2008, it is the business rescue practitioner’s responsibility to carry out the business rescue process.
Over a period of some five months Matuson and Dongwana, the BRPs, have repeatedly delayed producing a business rescue plan and it seems have squandered another R5.5 billion in taxpayer bailouts.
DA claims they are waiting a reply to a parliamentary question that has been submitted to the Minister to confirm whether or not information regarding the R60 million per month is correct.
The DA has requested a legal opinion on what action can be taken to ensure that the business rescue practitioners can be forced to follow the provisions of sections 128 to 155 of the Companies Act (71 of 2008).
The party wants the business rescue practitioners to apply for the liquidation of the airline.
Below is a graphic on SAA fact sheet:
Layoffs put on hold
The DA’s remarks come a day after SAA Business Rescue Practitioners agreed not to consider applying for the national carrier’s liquidation.
They made the undertaking during talks with Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan and trade unions. The practitioners also agreed to suspend the retrenchment of workers.
The meeting resolved to work towards turning SAA into a viable national asset.
The financially strapped national airline suffered a major blow recently when government refused to give it an additional R10 billion in funding.
The business rescue practitioners have said they have run out of resources and will thus not be able to meet all financial obligations beyond April 2020.