Government will on Wednesday send a funding commitment letter to the South African Airways (SAA) Business Rescue Practitioners.

This comes after creditors, unions and other stakeholders voted in favour of the amended SAA Business Rescue Plan.

It was adopted on Tuesday with 86% of the proxy vote.

The plan will require government or a strategic equity partner to provide an additional R16.3 billion in funding.

One of the joint Business Rescue Practitioners Siviwe Dongwana says the Public Enterprises Department will appoint a new interim board in the coming weeks.

The airline’s acting COO Philip Saunders has been appointed the acting interim CEO.

“We have received proxy’s and 86% are in favour of the business rescue plan of SAA. In the vote in terms of the act the business plan will be approved on a preliminary basis if it is supported by the holders of more than 75% of the creditor voting interest and in this case that is the case and the second part the votes in support of the proposed plans included at least 50% of the independent creditors voting interest,” Dongwana says.

In the video below, revised SAA Business Rescue Plan’s approval welcomed:

Victory for workers

The National Union of Metal Workers (Numsa) and the Cabin Crew Association (Sacca) say they fought very hard to prevent the liquidation of SAA.

The unions say they are relieved that the national carrier was saved from total collapse. They say they hope the restructured SAA will have a complete break with the past, especially with regard to dodgy, politically connected management and executives.

NUMSA Spokesperson Phakamile Hlubi -Majola says they are unhappy with Saunders being appointed as the new acting Chief Executive.

“It is also crucial that labour must have representation on the board, for too long employees at SAA have seen the airline run down by the shareholder Minister, boards and executives who are never called to account for their action at the airline. Today at least 2 600 employees are at risk of losing their jobs to pave the way for a restructured airline caused by years of deliberate and systematic maladministration and corruption. This must change and can only happen if labour has voice on the board,” she says.

Government applauds creditors, stakeholders

Government welcomed the vote in favour and applauded creditors and stakeholders for realising that a new, restructured, competitive airline, is the best option to immediately take the airline back to the skies.

In terms of the Companies Act, the proposed rescue plan may be implemented subject to funding being obtained.

The Department of Public Enterprise has also undertaken to provide proof of funding for the plan to go ahead as required by the Companies Act.

In the video below, unions happy for securing jobs for more workers at SAA: