The Democratic Alliance (DA) notes South African Airways’ (SAA) announcement that it plans to cut 944 jobs or about 20% of its workforce to bring costs under control. Given the current revenue shortfalls, efforts by the new management and directors to turn the beleaguered state-owned entity (SOE) around have been nothing but a pipe dream. The national carrier has failed to make a profit since 2011 and came terribly close to defaulting in 2017.
SAA is one of many SOEs that are completely dysfunctional and bankrupt. Under the warlord regime of Dudu Myeni, SAA like so many of our other SOEs spiraled from a world-class entity to a now defunct airliner plummeting to an almost certain crash.
During the height of state capture money was squandered and SAA has nothing to show for the billions that have been misappropriated over those years. Those who benefited improperly should have their assets frozen and all attempts to recoup funds should be undertaken with speed. The DA yet again calls on the Minister of Public Enterprises, Pravin Gordhan, to place SAA under business rescue, and for the immediate shutdown of SA Express.
It is unfortunate that so many SAA employees now face imminent job cuts. Yet again, ordinary workers are forced to bear the brunt for the years of ANC corruption and mismanagement. As SAA employees face the possibility of unemployment, the likes of Myeni and her cabal who destroyed the national carrier have gotten off scot free.
The airline has been a massive financial drain on the fiscus and has clearly failed to take off as a successful SOE. Only partial or full privatisation can prevent any further negative impact on South Africa’s constrained fiscus and would provide much-needed job security to SAA employees. No business in the world can have job security without business certainty. As things currently stand there is absolutely no certainty at SAA and only business rescue can bring this about.
SAA is one of the big casualties of state capture – yet no politically connected individual has been held personally liable as a remedy to rescue the airline. SAA is an albatross on our economy and has little to no benefit for average South Africans – National Government should, therefore, do the right thing and begin the process of privatising the entity without delay.
Natasha Mazzone MP
Chief Whip of the official Opposition
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