JOHANNESBURG - The Black Business Council (BBC) on Monday criticised the state-owned airline South African Airways for allegedly awarding a multi-million rand security contract to a UK-based company as an affront to preferential procurement and the Black Industrialists Programme.

This comes after the Sunday Times newspaper reported that SAA signed a R35 million two-year deal with security company, Control Risks, so that five top "personnel" can be provided with R10 500-a-day bodyguards as the airline prepares to announce massive job cuts.

The bodyguard deal with Control Risks, which was implemented on March 1, was allegedly negotiated outside normal procurement processes by new SAA chief executive, Vuyani Jarana. SAA made a financial loss of R5.6 billion in the 2017 financial year.

BBC said that the reports about the hiring of the security company, Control Risks without following proper supply chain procedures and processes run against the pronouncement by President Cyril Ramaphosa in the 2018 State-of-the-Nation Address (Sona).

In the Sona, Ramaphosa, said that government will deal decisively with companies that resist transformation, use competition policy to open markets up to new black entrants, and invest in the development of businesses in townships and rural areas.

George Sebulela, BBC secretary general, said that the award of the tender to Control Risks does not lend credence to the announcement at the Sona that government will improve State Own Entities’ capacity to support black business and professionals.

"The Public Finance Management Act (PFMA) instructs SOEs to seek exemption from the National Treasury (NT) if they don’t want to go out on tender for opportunities of over R500,000 and follow the prescripts of the PFMA," Sebulela said.

"The BBC wonders if Treasury approved this appointment and if Treasury also supports the continued exclusion of the black majority from participating in the mainstream of the economy by SAA."

Sebulela said that the BBC also calls upon the "dark forces" who were making the job of SAA difficult to stop their campaings and "leaks to the media calculated to impugn the reputation and blemish the image and good names of those who insist on accountability and good governance at SAA."

He said the BBC acknowledges that the current board and the new leadership of SAA will not compromise on implementing their turnaround strategy ,but equally called upon SAA to stop unfair, deceptive, corrupt and fraudulent business practices where they exist.

 African News Agency/ANA