Embattled SAA skipped a planned meeting with Parliament's watchdog Standing Committee on Public Accounts. File picture: Reuters/Mike Hutchings

Parliament - Embattled national carrier South African Airways (SAA) on Wednesday skipped a planned meeting with Parliament's watchdog Standing Committee on Public Accounts (Scopa).

SAA only informed Scopa on Wednesday morning that it would not be attending, resulting in an irate media statement from members of Parliament (MPs).

"The Standing Committee on Public Accounts has received correspondence today from South African Airways (SAA) indicating its non-availability for the meeting that was scheduled for this evening," Scopa said. 

"This is in addition to the fact that SAA has not submitted the information that was requested by the committee two weeks ago. Scopa is currently considering a legal opinion that it has received from the Parliamentary Legal Services on this matter."

Scopa had asked SAA to submit legal opinions regarding their obligation to post annual results -- and their failure to do so for two years running -- and their obligation not to trade recklessly.

The committee on Wednesday resolved to direct SAA to submit this information by next Tuesday.

It also resolved to visit SAA next Thursday to meet with the board of the airline and officials from National Treasury, the department of public enterprises and the office of the auditor-general.

Democratic Alliance MP Alf Lees said SAA’s stance would not help their cause as they seek more financial help from the state.

"SAA's arrogance is incredulous, especially given the fact that this state-owned entity has cost taxpayers R57 billion in losses and continues to operate at massive losses and with no benefit to the poor," Lees said.

"This continued lack of cooperation from SAA will in no doubt provide zero aid to their current dire financial situation, and it makes Parliament’s role of oversight increasingly difficult to achieve."

It is estimated that the recent strike at SAA compounded their loses to the tune of about R50 million a day.

African News Agency (ANA)