The National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (Numsa) and the South African Cabin Crew Association (Sacca) say they have reached a dead-end with the Department of Public Enterprises when it comes to saving South African Airways. Numsa General-Secretary Irvin Jim says they are facing a crisis in saving and turning around the national airline.

“We think that it is time to put the record straight because we think that it is important for the public and everybody to know that we have reached a deadlock with Minister Pravin Gordhan about how we must go about to save this airline.”

The Department of Public Enterprises announced on Sunday that it was withdrawing from the Leadership Consultative Forum which was responsible for coming up with a business restructuring model to save SAA.

“ In our view, we think that the decision that the government has taken in particular, the Ministry DPE lead by Pravin Gordhan is nothing less than liquidating the airline.”

Numsa Secretary-General Irvin Jim says they are concerned about  job losses at SAA: 

SAA was placed under business rescue in December. In a statement issued by the Department of Public Enterprises at the time, the decision was taken “to restore confidence in SAA and to safeguard the good assets of SAA and help to restructure and reposition the entity into one that is stronger, more sustainable and able to grow and attract an equity partner.”

Jim says before the business rescue they warned the department of contracts that would negatively affect the airline.

“A couple of things must be said long before this airline was put into business rescue. Numsa and Sacca highlighted that it was important for the board of SAA, DPE to take decisive action and deal with exorbitant erroneous contracts that were bleeding the airline and we gave them a list of those contracts. They refused to deal with them up until they were taken to court by one union, Solidarity. They then filed for voluntary rescue, basically avoiding a situation where we can have an independent business rescue practitioner. The current business rescue practitioners have been appointed by DPE. “

Numsa and Sacca say they have been fighting with the business rescue practitioners in an effort to save jobs.

“What is shocking though is that in the recent past, a couple of months we have been boxing with the BRPs who wanted to basically retrench all workers. We ran to court, we rejected their attempt because they did not even present a business plan. And in the recent past, we were forced as a result of the failure of the BRPs to produce a plan whilst they were busy looting the money, you remember that they grounded the airline, they cut all the routes and the airline could not fly and we said that this was reckless, we said this is going to destroy the airline and they didn’t listen to anybody. ”

Below is Numsa and Sacca’s statement on the SAA situation: