SA Express has dumped local routes to focus on continental destinations as stiff competition in the market and crippling debt saw its flights grounded last week.
Cape Town - South African Express (SAX) is buckling under pressure after it suffered losses amounting to more than R2billion in the past three years.

This comes after SAX submitted its audited financial statements in Parliament this week after three years of delays.

SAA has yet to submit its own audited financial statements after it failed to also submit to the national legislature in the last two years.

The Standing Committee on Public Accounts (Scopa) slammed SAA this week for failing to submit the financial statements saying this was untenable.

It said, while SAA demands bailouts of billions of rands it still has to account to Parliament on how it uses its money.

In the financial statements of SAX the auditor-general Kimi Makwetu gave the airline disclaimers in the three audit reports saying its books were in a shambles.

The auditor-general could not find some of the documents on procurement and other transactions.

The financial statements from 2017 until this year will now be tabled before the committees of Parliament to process.

SAX said in the report it was a concern due to the financial problems it faces.

In the 2017/18 financial year, SAX suffered financial losses of R1.6bn.

In the 2018/19 financial period the company incurred a loss of R590million.

The auditor-general gave it a disclaimer for the last financial year. This is the same audit opinion reached by the AG in the previous two financial years.

“I do not express an opinion on the financial statements of the SA Express. Because of the significance of the matters described in the basis for disclaimer of opinion section of my report I have not been able to obtain sufficient appropriate audit evidence to provide a basis for an audit opinion on these financial statements,” said the auditor- general.

He also said in his report that there was no paper trail for some of the transactions.

“I was unable to obtain sufficient appropriate audit evidence for certain amounts recorded as revenue, as the entity was not able to provide supporting information for these,” said Makwetu.

SAX is one of the entities that have received bailouts from the national fiscus.

Political parties and civil society have called on the government to stop the bailouts.

The government has injected billions of rand into SOEs in the past few years, but they have continued to rake in losses.

Scopa has called on Parliament to tighten its grip on accountability and wants SOEs to fully account for the funds they receive from the government.

Scopa said it cannot be business as usual when SOEs were given billions of rand in bailouts, but continue to make losses and do not account for the use of these funds.

Scopa warned SAA this week it was violating the Public Finance Management Act by not submitting the audited financial statements on time.

Politics Bureau