SA Express employees will picket outside the offices of the Public Enterprises Department in Pretoria on Monday.
The employees picketed outside the Union Buildings on Friday to demand their pay.
The frustrated employees want government to respond and delay the provisional liquidation of SA Express before a final order of liquidation is made. Government has until Tuesday to oppose the liquidation.
The High Court in Pretoria placed SA Express under provisional liquidation in April after the airline’s Business Rescue Practitioners filed an urgent court application.
Employees were told their salaries could not be paid because the airline was facing financial difficulties.
“DPE is our shareholder and we are hoping they will be there to accept our memorandum which addresses three things – one pay employers salaries; two retrench employees and pay retrenchment packages as required by labour law; three delay liquidation until all staff have been retrenched and proper salaries paid through funding from DPE. This will enable faster access to pension and provident fund money for employees. The government has taken care of all other SOEs besides us,” says the employees’ representatives, Thabisile Sikakane.
In the video below, SA Express workers demand payment of outstanding salaries:
SA Express is one of a string of State-Owned Entities that are in the red. The National Union of Metal Workers (Numsa) has blamed the government for the complete financial breakdown of SA Express. The union believes looting and corruption at the airline are partly to blame for its current financial situation.
SA Express has been running at a loss for years. The airline recorded losses to the tune of R590 million for the financial year that ended on the 31st of March 2019.
COVID-19 has compounded the airline’s financial problems as it was forced to halt operations. South African Airways’ financial problems are also said to have added further financial strain to the airline. While SA Express was operationally independent of SAA, it had incorporated its flights within a strategic alliance with the cash-strapped national carrier.
In May, the Democratic Alliance said it wanted Finance Minister Tito Mboweni to probe how the airline used R1.2 billion government bailout issued in 2019.