CAPE TOWN – Embattled national carrier SA Airways told Parliament on Wednesday it was expecting a cash injection from the government of R5.5 billion by the end of the month, but this was not enough, and it would need a further R2bn by the end of the year.
The airline has debt of R12.7bn, of which three-quarters is legacy debt. Another R3.5bn is money lent from banks as working capital.
The airline’s management conceded to MPs that it was finding the funding of current working capital “challenging”. Its long-term turnaround strategy was based on an equity injection of R21.7bn.
The airline provided an update on its efforts in prosecuting those implicated in the erosion of the finances of the loss-making national carrier.
Vusi Pikoli, the airline’s head of legal and compliance, said yesterday that the forensic task team probing malfeasance at SAA was trying to ensure nine criminal dockets reach court, and 84 questionable contracts were laid bare.
He said SAA had fallen victim to organised crime syndicates, with the ravages including the theft of aircraft components and utility loading devices. The task team he has headed since February wanted to ensure that the full extent of the alleged criminality was detected and punished.
Pikoli told MPs that cases that were with the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation (Hawks) but had gone cold had been reopened, with the aim of ensuring a proper investigation and eventual prosecution of each one.
It is reliably understood that one of these dockets aims to indict a former member of the SAA board implicated in the erosion of the airline’s finances.
Pikoli said the forensic task team wanted to hand over the 84 contracts it deemed questionable to the Special Investigating Unit.