Chairperson of the Standing Committee on Public Accounts (Scopa) Mkhuleko Hlengwa says if national airliner South African Airways (SAA) cannot come to Parliament, the Parliament will go to SAA.

The SAA Board and management informed the committee at the last minute that it would not be available for the scheduled committee meeting on Wednesday night.

Scopa says it has received correspondence from SAA about its non-availability for the meeting. It says in addition, SAA has not submitted the information that was requested by the committee two weeks ago.

The Chairperson of the Standing Committee on Public Accounts Mkhuleko Hlengwa says the SAA Board and management have failed to submit the airliner’s two previous financial statements for the 2017/2018 and 2018/2019 periods to Parliament as required in terms of the Public Finance Management Act.

He says if the national airliner cannot come to Parliament, then Parliament will go to the SAA.

Hlengwa highlights some of the reasons given by SAA not to attend the meeting, saying they will visit them next week.

“The Board says they are dealing with the issues of the strike and that the strike has set into motion certain complexities. All we need to do is pin down SAA to accountability, and we need to exercise our oversight role. So what I am calling for really, is for SAA to co-operate and for SAA to subject itself to the parliamentary process – because it is that process that is going to assist them and solve their problems. They cannot solve their problems without Parliament, and so it is important that they subject themselves to this… and so our going there is to ensure that if, like they say, taking Africa to the world and taking the world to Africa… if they can’t come to Parliament, Parliament will come to them.”

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Meanwhile, the Democratic Alliance (DA) has expressed anger at SAA’s last minute non-attendance of the committee meeting.

“The DA is very disappointed – in fact very angry that SAA has chosen not to appear before the Scopa committee of Parliament tonight. It is an arrangement that was made some time ago, and so what SAA Board are doing – they are treating Parliament with contempt. They are quite happy to come to Parliament to ask for massive bailouts of billions of rands. The current year R5.5 billion has already been made available to the SAA, and yet they don’t have the courtesy to come to a scheduled meeting,” says DA member of Scopa, Alf Lees.

Scopa will now visit SAA board in Johannesburg on Thursday, as well as meet with National Treasury, Public Enterprises and the Auditor General regarding the non-compliance of SAA.