Numsa opposed to SAA liquidation

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The National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (Numsa) has rejected suggestions that South African Airways (SAA) should be liquidated, saying the national carrier can be a viable business.

This after the Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse (Outa) reiterated its stance that SAA be liquidated because it believes the airline does not have a plan to keep it financially sustainable.

The Department of Public Enterprises has announced that SAA could exit administration later this month and a decision on an equity partner for it could be made by the end of March 2021.

Numsa National Spokesperson Phakamile Hlubi-Majola says, “SAA is a viable business, not just an airline. It is an SOE whose role is to grow the tourism sector and the aviation sector in this country. It contributes 34 000 jobs and only a reckless minister would think that SAA should be collapsed and liquidated. This is why Numsa and SACCA have been fighting so hard for this airline to be turned around. It plays a meaningful role in this economy.”

Numsa disputes comments by Outa that SAA must be liquidated:

Outa Executive Manager of Public Governance Julius Kleynhans says, “Since 2007, we have seen about R72 billion in bailouts being paid to the airline. We have seen that it has been bankrupt over and over again. You cannot sustain a business like that. It is a vanity project of government and it is very unfortunate that jobs are at stake – yet we need sustainable business plans and the BRP plan has been flawed from the get-go…”

“We have seen the pandemic come to the fore as well. The airline industry is down by 55% and we are seeing the private sector already surfing that space. We cannot waste taxpayers’ money on this vanity project any longer,” added Kleynhans.

Executive Manager for Public Governance at OUTA, Julius Kleynhans: 

SAA has been under a form of bankruptcy protection since December 2019, and its longstanding financial woes worsened during the COVID-19 pandemic which led to It suspending all operations around the end of September 2020.

The Department said at a virtual meeting of a Parliamentary committee that the remainder of a R10.5 billion bailout could flow to the airline now that an appropriation act had been passed.

So far, R2.8 billion of the bailout has been transferred to SAA, the Department’s presentation showed.

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