File image: IOL

JOHANNESBURG - The National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa and the South African Cabin Crew Association on Wednesday pledged support for a strike planned by pilots over what they say is the lack of leadership at national carrier SAA.

In a statement, NUMSA and SACCA said they supported the pilots' demands, including that cash-strapped South African Airways urgently take appropriate action to ensure a proper turnaround and return to sustainability.

SAA said on Monday it was disappointed by the threat by the South African Airways Pilots Association (SAAPA) to go on strike in the midst of ongoing talks over its demands.

On Wednesday, NUMSA and SACCA said their members had held regular marches, protests and pickets to highlight the management crisis at SAA and tried to intervene when former group CEO Vuyani Jarana resigned in June reportedly out of frustration because the government refused to fund a turnaround strategy he had developed to return the airline to profitability.

"We have consistently made a call that the board must be reconstituted and represented by representatives of labour, business, and the government. This way labour can play an oversight role and ensure good governance and transparency," the unions said.

"We have written numerous times to (public enterprises) minister Pravin Gordhan asking him to dissolve the current board of SAA as it is not delivering and it is also a hindrance rather than a solution to the problems of the airline."

"We would therefore like to make it clear that, while we are preparing our own plans to force the minister to dissolve the current board ... we will support any efforts, including the strike action called for by (pilots) in order to protect this asset and root out corruption," NUMSA and SACCA added.

- African News Agency (ANA)