Picture: Henk Kruger/African News Agency (ANA)
Picture: Henk Kruger/African News Agency (ANA)

Liquidate SAA and use bailout money to fight coronavirus pandemic, says DA

By MAYIBONGWE MAQHINA Time of article published Mar 24, 2020

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Johannesburg - The DA is piling pressure on SAA’s business rescue practitioners, Les Matuson and Siviwe Dongwana, to immediately apply to the courts to liquidate the national carrier.

This happens as the official opposition wants the bailouts of SAA and other state-owned enterprises (SOEs) to be stopped, and for government funding to be redirected towards the fight against Covid-19.

On Monday, DA MP Alf Lees said he had written to Matuson and Dongwana, urging them to immediately apply for the liquidation of SAA.

Lees said the pair should use a provision in the Companies Act in order to prevent further wasteful bailouts of SAA that were desperately needed to fight the Covid-19 pandemic.

“Section 132.(3) of the Companies Act requires that if a company’s business rescue proceedings have not ended within three months after the start of those proceedings, the business rescue practitioner must prepare a monthly report on the progress of the business rescue proceedings and submit such reports to the court or the Companies and Intellectual Property Commission,” he said.

Lees charged that the three months for the SAA proceedings ended on March5, and the first report should already have been submitted.

He added the complete lack of any urgency on the part of Matuson and Dongwana to get the business rescue plan approved was a clear indication that the entire process was “a farce”, and had been from the beginning.

“Given the collapse of ticket sales income as a result of the pandemic, on top of the dire financial position of the airline, it would be immoral for SAA’s creditors to grant the business rescue practitioners yet another extension to submit their proposed plan.

“Such an extension would simply delay the inevitable collapse of SAA and cause billions of rand desperately needed to deal with the Covid-19 ­pandemic to go down the drain,” he said.

Lees also highlighted that instead of fixing the problem, Matuson and Dongwana had become complicit in ensuring SAA continued to trade at the expense of the poor and the hungry, and also the thousands of South Africans who were at risk of death from Covid-19.

“Free up funds for disaster management and economic support by cancelling the planned bailout of SAA of R16.4billion immediately. It is unthinkable at a time like this to be bailing out failed SOEs while thousands of successful small businesses face ruin,” he added.

Party leader John Steenhuisen has also made a call for a comprehensive economic support package to see the country through this time - one that would prioritise the country’s citizens.

Political Bureau

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