The DA has called for SAA board chairperson Dudu Myeni to be fired with immediate effect. Picture: Simphiwe Mbokazi/Independent Media

Cape Town - South African Airways (SAA) board chairwoman Dudu Myeni must be fired with immediate effect to prevent her continued destruction of the little that is left of SAA, the Democratic Alliance said on Sunday.

Media reports on Sunday that Myeni would remain until her close friend “uBaba” President Jacob Zuma ended his term in 2019 was simply mind boggling, DA spokesman Alf Lees said.

"I have written to Ms Myeni to request confirmation that these reports are true and if so why she believes it is in the interest of the crumbling SAA for her to remain despite commitments that her appointment would come to an end at the beginning of September," he said.

"It is clearly nonsensical for the cabinet to once again capitulate to the wishes of a discredited president and to not instruct Malusi Gigaba, the minister of finance, to adhere to the commitment that was made that Ms Myeni would be appointed as SAA board chair for one year. Ms Myeni must be fired with immediate effect to prevent her continued destruction of the little that is left of SAA."

SAA was bankrupt and near to liquidation. Suppliers had not been paid in full in July and August and the SAA cash flow indicated that they would also not be paid in full in September.

The airline had been running at losses of R350 million every month in the current financial year and if it could find benefactors to provide additional cash to pay its staff salaries and suppliers for the second six months of the 2017/18 financial year, was heading for a loss of R4 billion in 2017/18.

"Even if the banks were to miraculously extend their loans to SAA this will not provide any cash and SAA will not be able to continue trading without a cash bailout from the South African taxpayer. It is certainly not a 'going concern'," Lees said.

"There is R6.7 billion payable to banks by the 30th of September 2017. National Treasury has already been forced to pay Standard Chartered Bank R2.2 billion when they refused to extend the loans to SAA."

City Bank had apparently also refused to extend their loans to SAA beyond September 30 and on Sunday there were reports that Nedbank had informed SAA and National Treasury that they would not be able to extend the term of their loan beyond September 30 unless, possibly among other conditions, Myeni was removed as SAA board chair and from the SAA board.

"It is clear that it is time for Ms Myeni to go. Keeping her on would be irresponsible and would essentially ensure SAA’s destruction," Lees said.
African News Agency