Picture: Mike Hutchings/Reuters/African News Agency (ANA)
Johannesburg - TROUBLED SAA has been allowed to postpone its annual general meeting due to delays in finalising its multibillion-rand bailout.

The national carrier has been given until March to hold its AGM, which was due before yesterday.

The Companies and Intellectual Property Commission’s Companies Tribunal this week accepted the airline’s explanation for applying for the delay.

Documents seen by Independent Media show that among the reasons cited by SAA for delaying holding the gathering were that the need for capital injection was also provided for in its corporate plan and that engagements with the Department of Public Enterprises and the National Treasury on the airline’s capitalisation were under way.

An ongoing evaluation of SAA’s financial statements had concluded that the airline required shareholder support in the form of a capital injection in order for it to meet its requirements as a going concern.

SAA is also unlikely to meet the deadline due to the delay in the finalisation of its annual financial statement.

The airline held its last AGM at the end of March last year and the next one should have been convened within no more than 15 months (by June 29) in order to meet the requirements of the Companies Act.

SAA had requested an extension of time to hold its AGM by no later than March 31.

Companies Tribunal member Khatija Tootla ruled in favour of SAA, finding that since the annual financial statements were unavailable, which was not due to the airline’s fault, “good cause” had been shown for the postponement of the AGM.

Tootla said the delay in the receipt of the capital injection by SAA’s sole shareholder, and the need for it to be regarded as a going concern were valid reasons for delaying the crucial gathering.

SAA had requested a R4billion bailout from the government earlier this month.

Last October, Finance Minister Tito Mboweni gave the airline a R5bn cash injection to enable it to settle its debts.

Several witnesses have told the commission of inquiry into state capture how the airline was effectively run to ground during its former chairperson, Dudu Myeni’s tenure.

Myeni has been accused of attempting to secure a R50m cancellation fee for little-known BnP Capital after its transaction advisory and sourcing of funds contracts were terminated by SAA due to the company not being registered with the Financial Services Conduct Authority (formerly the Financial Services Board).

The commission headed by Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo had also heard that Myeni and the airline’s former board member, Yakhe Kwinana, tried to force former acting chief procurement officer Dr Masimba Dahwa to award 30% of two lucrative contracts to preselected companies without following proper procedures.

The commission, which will hear the evidence of former acting SAA chief executive Thuli Mpshe next week, has been told how executives were allegefly threatened with disciplinary action for defying Myeni’s unlawful instructions and protesting by the EFF outside SAA offices over lack of transformation.

Politics Bureau