The National Union of Metal Workers (Numsa) has blamed the government for the complete financial breakdown of SA Express. The airline’s business practitioners have filed a court application for the airliner to be liquidated.

Government is yet to oppose the liquidation.

Numsa Spokesperson Phakamile Hlubi-Majola says Public Enterprise should be blamed for the governance failures at SA Express. She says looting and corruption at the airline are partly to blame for its current financial situation.

“Government must take responsibility for SA Express. The situation is compounded with the fact that most of our members have not received their salaries for the month of March, and were, therefore, unable to prepare for the lockdown. The destruction of SA Express is because government, as a shareholder, is not committed to saving our SOE’s, especially in aviation. We always suspected that eventually the looting and corruption would be the death nails for our SOE’s and this has turned out to be true in the case of SA Express and it is very likely SAA and Eskom will follow suit.”

Mzimela resigns

Earlier on Tuesday, interim CEO of SA Express Siza Mzimela resigned from the airline after 18 months of service. She bade farewell to employees in an emotional e-mail, saying the change was inevitable.

Mzimela joined SA Express in 2018 to assist with the restructuring of the airline. Thuli Mpse has been appointed acting CEO with effect from Wednesday.

South African Airways (SAA), which is on business rescue, earlier this month, suspended all its regional flights until May 31 after cancelling all its international operations.

The struggling airline said this was in support of the government’s travel ban aimed at curbing the transmission of the coronavirus. It says due to the situation its regional flights are no longer commercially viable since SAA is a network carrier.

In the video below, National Transport Unions President Mashudu Raphetha speaks about looming retrenchments at the national carrier: