SAA says claims that the airline procures bottled water at a premium price were already made in December 2017 and rebutted at that time. File Photo: IOL

CAPE TOWN – South African Airways (SAA) disputes false claims on social media that the airline procures bottled water at a premium price.

“We have noted with concern false claims spread on social media and instant messaging platforms that SAA pays R17.50 for its supplies of bottled water, a rate considerably higher than the retail or market price. These claims are untrue, misleading and damaging.  

SAA procures bottled water at a rate lesser than the wholesale price (R2.75) suggested on social media platforms.

“We challenge anyone making these averments to support them with evidence that confirms their validity.

“This seems to be a campaign calculated to undermine SAA’s efforts to transform itself as the airline makes progress and works towards becoming self-sustainable in three years. In addition, those behind these baseless claims, if left unchallenged, will hurt the business and its brand,” says Tlali Tlali, SAA’s spokesperson.

These claims were already made in December 2017 and rebutted at that time.

Suppliers and manufacturers

A company the size of SAA procures its supplies and products from a range of suppliers and manufacturers in substantial volumes and we must ensure that we conduct business in a manner compliant with our own supply chain policy, National Treasury regulations and other relevant legal prescripts.

“Price competitiveness is one of the most important considerations in evaluating bids and forms part of our criteria in any tender process. It would be reckless to procure this commodity at an exorbitant rate. In this case, we source bottled water from the bottling company and not from any third parties or a middleman,” explained Tlali.

Given the cutthroat competitive environment in which SAA operates, every effort is made to maintain a competitive edge to advance our commercial interests – and this includes a pricing advantage the airline must secure on its supplies.

“It would have been useful and responsible for those who put such baseless claims up for public consumption, to have taken steps first to verify or validate their information in order to avoid misleading the public and our stakeholders,” concluded Tlali.

At SAA, our focus is on executing the turnaround strategy in order to bring the airline to financial sustainability within three years.

SAA will consider its legal options on this matter as we now see a pattern developing on this misinformation campaign and this is creating disillusionment and has the potential to hurt our commercial interests.