Unions to take legal action to prevent SAA liquidation; call for Mboweni to be fired
Cape Town - The National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (Numsa) and the South African Cabin Crew Association (Sacca) intend to take legal action to prevent the liquidation of South African Airways (SAA), and have urged President Cyril Ramaphosa to fire Finance Minister Tito Mboweni.
Numsa and Sacca had noted "with absolute shock and dismay" the recent press statements attributed to Mboweni and the National Treasury to the effect that SAA, and other state-owned entities including SA Express, "should be closed down", the two unions said in a joint statement on Sunday.
"Mboweni has effectively confirmed that he supports the liquidation of South African Airways (SAA) and SA Express. Minister Mboweni has been on record making similar reckless statements since 2018, and the most recent position he and his department adopted directly contradicts the official position of government and, more particularly, the position of the department of public enterprises [DPE], where minister [Pravin] Gordhan has formally adopted the position that DPE is against the liquidation of SAA.
"DPE has gone as far as setting up the leadership consultative forum (LCF) emanating from the compact agreement, the main purpose of which is to avoid liquidation and to restructure it into a sustainable, profitable, and efficient airline," the statement said.
This was not the first time that Mboweni had made such comments, and it was "time for him to be brought to book". "It is also worth noting that National Treasury has been complicit in its role at SAA, as it acted as shareholder representative for SAA during the time when forensic reports were reported on and published at SAA, and yet it refused to act to end mismanagement and looting."
Numsa and Sacca would not tolerate "these irresponsible statements and we call on President Ramaphosa to immediately intervene and fire Mboweni for his recklessness".
"To the extent that these statements have compromised the independence and credibility of the imminent vote on South African Airways’ business rescue plan, Numsa and Sacca are in the process of taking legal advice as to the best course of action and all our rights remain reserved."
Numsa and Sacca would under no circumstances accept the liquidation of SAA, and for that matter also SA Express, or any other state-owned entity (SoE).
"We have accordingly instructed our lawyers to prepare a legal challenge in order to ensure that those who are intent on liquidating South African Airways will be stopped in their tracks and workers can be assured that we will leave no stone unturned in protecting their rights and interests in these difficult times," the unions said.
African News Agency (ANA), editing by Jacques Keet