Parliament's finance standing committee chairman Yunus Carrim File picture: Katlholo Maifadi/GCIS.

Cape Town - The National Treasury is failing in its oversight role of South African Airways (SAA) and parliament's finance standing committee intends being far more effective in its oversight role over Treasury and the SAA, committee chairman Yunus Carrim said on Sunday.

Unfortunate as it was, government "had no choice" but to bail SAA out. Not to have done so would have been far worse, not just for SAA, but the country as a whole. "In any case, the government has for some while now been considering a capital injection into SAA." The need to repay the Standard Chartered Bank loan of about R2.3 billion now prompted this decision sooner, he said.

"But the finance committee will want to know what exactly Treasury is going to require from the SAA board in return to ensure that it functions far more effectively. We believe that Treasury is failing in its oversight role of SAA and we are going to be far more effective in our oversight role over Treasury and the SAA.

"We are to meet with them in early August when parliament reconvenes and again in September. We are especially concerned that SAA has been losing R370 million a month at the moment,” Carrim said.

“We reiterate our request that the board be strengthened with people with the necessary aviation expertise and experience, that the position of the board chair be reviewed, and that the SAA CEO be appointed as soon as possible. Government should appoint the best person available for the post. The SAA management as a whole has to be considerable strengthened.”

"We also want the board’s turnaround strategy to be finalised as soon as possible and brought to the committee. While the majority in our committee does not support the privatisation of SAA, we believe that there are a variety of other ways to ensure effective private sector participation in SAA, and we urge Treasury and SAA to finalse their proposals on this," Carrim said.

The committee did not have the forensic and other capacities to investigate allegations and counter-allegations of corruption within SAA and urged that these be referred to the police and that the criminal justice system acts swiftly on these matters, he said.
African News Agency