Picture: African News Agency (ANA)
Picture: African News Agency (ANA)

Public Enterprises warns it will oppose SA Airlink bid seeking to halt creditors meeting

By Zintle Mahlati Time of article published Jun 22, 2020

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Johannesburg - The Department of Public Enterprises says it will oppose possible court applications by SA Airlink and aviation unions which seek to halt South African Airways Business Rescue Practitioners from convening a creditors meeting scheduled for Thursday.

DPE issued a statement on Monday morning warning that it was aware of pending court applications by SA Airlink, and possible court action by the National Union of Metalworkers and South African Cabin Crew Association.

The SA Airlink litigation seeks to have SAA placed under liquidation. The company also wants to halt the covering of a creditors meeting vote on the business rescue plan for SAA. SA Airlink believes there is no reasonable prospect in rescuing SAA.

The privately-owned company is owed R700 million by SAA. 

DPE said it was not cited as a respondent in the SA Airlink application but as a shareholder at SAA if felt it necessary to intervene in the matter. The department said it will oppose the application on both fronts, for liquidating SAA and for halting the creditors meeting.

The creditors meeting is scheduled for Thursday.

"The BRPs have scheduled a creditors meeting for 25 June 2020 to vote on the business rescue plan. Should NUMSA and SACCA launch an application to stop the creditors meeting, DPE will oppose the application," the department said.

"As we approach the final week to either endorse or reject the business rescue plan by the BRPs, it is disturbing that a competitor of SAA, which is 100% privately owned, as well as two labour unions, who should be acting in the best interest of their members, are seeking to destroy SAA by forcing a liquidation through the courts. The question is why? Is this really in the interest of SAA workers or the fiscus?"

"The government, as the sole shareholder of SAA, supports the business rescue plan where it results in a viable, sustainable, competitive airline that provides integrated domestic, regional and international flight services."

SAA has been struggling to operate for years. Its financial struggles culminated in it being placed under business rescue in December last year.

DPE said it had provided business rescue practitioners with R5.5 billion to help sustain the business rescue process, but questions have been raised about whether these funds were enough. 

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