Cabin crew to lay corruption charges against SAA execs, board

2017-06-27 20:31
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Pretoria - In yet further claims of wrongdoing and corruption at South African Airways (SAA), the South Africa Cabin Crew Association (SACCA) will be laying charges against members of SAA board for theft and corruption to the tune more than R1.86bn.

SACCA announced on Tuesday afternoon that they would be opening cases of corruption, theft and contravention of the Public Finance Management Act against executives and the board of SAA.

Those that will have cases opened against them include acting CEO Musa Zwane, CFO Phumeza Nhantsi, head of operations Zuks Ramasia, general manager of marketing Aaron Munetsi, and Kim Thipe.

SACCA's Feroze Kader said they were holding the press conference to expose to the public what was going on at SAA.

"What is going on is major corruption in terms of the reports that we have furnished to all media houses today stating the irregularities that are experienced by all employees of the company... they are looting in excess of R1.8bn," said Kader.

He added that SAA had been circulating SMSes to the employees, telling them that there may not be money to pay their salaries at the end of this month.

Kader said the information pertaining to the alleged corruption, theft and irregular spending was compiled from various audit reports which were made available internally, as well as reports from private companies.

"We are desperate for the public to assist in finding a solution, because the board, and unfortunately the government’s interest in wanting to resolve this, is not being taken as seriously as we would like them to."

SAA spokesperson Tlali Tlali cautioned SACCA, saying that public statements, such as those made at the briefing on Tuesday, should be made after careful consideration due to their seriousness and implications that flowed from them.

"We don't know the circumstances that led to public announcements to lay criminal charges against specific individuals that were allegedly mentioned at a media briefing today," Tlali said on Tuesday night.

"We hope that, in this case, they were made in good faith and based on prima facie evidence."

He further cautioned against the use of the criminal justice system as an "expedient mechanism to receive public and media attention, whilst leaving names of those mentioned tarnished and their reputations impaired".

"SAA does not condone criminality, yet the airline will presume everyone mentioned to be innocent until the contrary is proven," Tlali concluded.

'Someone needs to be punished'

On laying the criminal charges, Kader said they wanted a major investigation to take place, as it appeared that the SAA board were protecting the executives, and government was protecting the board.

"No one is accountable for the looting at SAA. Somebody needs to take accountability, and someone needs to be punished. The employees can’t suffer the consequences."

In a press package handed out to journalists at the briefing, several companies are mentioned, and details are given about the dealings with the companies and SAA.

One such company detailed by the SACCA allegedly received a tender for supply chain management services. They alleged that the company got the tender, as other bidders were disqualified, leaving the specific company as the only bidder in the tender. Documents from other bidders could not be provided for a detailed evaluation of the tender process.

The tender was for R53.37m per annum over a period of five years, resulting in an estimated R266.86m, starting from September 1, 2014 to August 31, 2019.

According to SACCA, as of February 7 this year - 29 months since the tender was awarded - the contract between the company and SAA had still not been signed.

Payments to the tune of R125.84m were made without a contract in place.

SACCA alleged that SAA also paid another company R115.066m by April 30, 2016, despite an approved budget of R67.5m.

SACCA noted that irregular payments made by SAA to the company, excluding payments that were still ongoing from January 1, 2017, amounted to around R53.7m.

Ongoing feud  

SACCA said the release of this information was not a kneejerk reaction in their ongoing feud over meal allowances and their salaries.

SAA cabin crew members downed tools earlier this year. SAA got an interdict against the striking employees, who then returned to work.

SACCA said on Tuesday that they had gotten another strike certificate, which they would be using soon, and said all strike action had been lawful thus far.

Read more on:    saa  |  corruption

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