Picture: Kopano Tlape/GCIS

CAPE TOWN - Now that the business rescue process for South African Airways (SAA) is underway and Les Matuson, the SAA business rescue practitioner, has been appointed and is reported to be intending to meet all stakeholders within the next 10 days, it is essential that Parliament’s public accounts standing committee (Scopa) be part of the proposed meeting with stakeholders, the DA said on Sunday.

As such, the DA had written to Scopa chairman Mkhuleko Hlengwa to request that he immediately write to Matuson to insist that Scopa be included in the proposed meeting with SAA stakeholders, DA spokesman Alf Lees said in a statement.

This consultation process with all SAA stakeholders was clearly vital if Matuson was going to stand any chance of succeeding in the rescue of the bankrupt SAA, he said.

"Not only is SAA the property of all South Africans, but on top of this, over the past 25 years, the South African taxpayer has been extorted by successive ANC governments to bailout SAA to the tune of R57 billion."

The SAA board of directors had "refused" to publish and submit to Parliament the annual financial statements for SAA, as required by law, for the past two financial years, and this had made it impossible for Parliament to perform its constitutional duty of oversight over SAA which was insolvent and a massive financial drain on the South African taxpayer.

"In a display of the disdain in which the SAA board appears to hold Parliament, the SAA board declined to attend a Scopa meeting on 27 November 2019. In a last ditch attempt to ensure that SAA account to Parliament and immediately submit its annual financial statements as required by the Public Finance Management Act, Scopa had determined that on 5 December 2019 the committee would travel to the SAA head office in its massive luxury premises at Jet Park to meet the SAA board. This meeting was postponed when President Cyril Ramaphosa announced that airline would be put into voluntary business rescue," Lees said.

African News Agency (ANA)