ANC allies hold onto hope that SAA woes will go away and remain as national carrier
Johannesburg - The African National Congress and its alliance partners the South African Communist Party and The Congress of South African Trade Unions are hoping that South African Airways can be turned into a thriving business and remain as the country's national carrier. The alliance secretariat met on Tuesday at Luthuli House where they discussed the Alliance’s common approach pertaining to the restructuring SAA.
In a statement released on Wednesday, national spokesperson for the ANC, Pule Mabe, said the alliance maintained that SAA must be turned around to thrive and kept as the national carrier and serve as the mainstay of the country's domestic aviation industry with successful regional, continental and international routes.
"The alliance Secretariat placed emphasis on ensuring that the rights of workers are fully protected throughout the process," he said.
This comes in the wake of SAA being placed into business rescue in December 2019 with both the government and creditors committing to jointly provide R4 billion.
Last week, business rescue practitioners Les Matuson and Siviwe Dongwana announced that SAA would no longer fly to several local and international destinations from February 29.
Earlier in the day, Numsa and the South African Cabin Crew Association filed papers in the Labour Court seeking to interdict the airline’s business rescue practitioners from retrenching workers.
Mabe said the ANC manifesto envisioned the development of an integrated, safe, reliable and affordable public transport system remains an essential national imperative.
"The integration requires adequate investment in infrastructure and proper co-ordination of road, rail, air and maritime transport."
At the Tuesday meeting the secretariat reaffirmed the strategic relevance of SAA as outlined by President Cyril Ramaphosa last Friday.
"The meeting expressed unequivocal support for the statement made by the President disapproving of the cuts announced by business rescue practitioners of all SAA domestic routes but one, Johannesburg and Cape Town. Confidence in SAA will be lost in the international market as a result of almost all its domestic routes being cut. There are more adverse implications for SAA given that it is a network carrier, rather than a point-to-point carrier," he said.
He added that the business rescue practitioners have an obligation to present a turnaround strategy to the government as the shareholder for consideration.
"In addition the business rescue process must be inclusive and anchored on national development imperatives. The alliance will engage with the relevant ministers, stakeholders and other institutions that have a role to play in the turnaround of SAA," Mabe said.