The President took charge of the crisis, showed the authoritarians in Cabinet that he's still the boss, writes Adriaan Basson.
Rain. Morning clouds. Cool.
Trade union Solidarity says it was told by Denel that there is no money to pay salaries at the end of May because the company cannot deliver orders, given the lockdown restrictions.
Liquidation is not an option for South African Airways and is a matter of "national interest", according to Minister of Public Enterprises Pravin Gordhan.
The state-owned regional airline has been placed in provisional liquidation after its business rescue practitioners filed an urgent court application.
Should airlines, and business in general be prepared for the worst? Not this much.
The unions said it was distressing that the airline would announce that there was not enough money to pay employees' salaries and not provide any updates or reassurances days before a national lockdown.
National carrier SAA says it is scaling down its flight schedule as it faces a drop in demand due to the coronavirus outbreak.
The South African Transport and Allied Workers Union has slammed what it claims is the "hands-off approach" of the Department of Public Enterprises regarding state-owned airline SA Express.
'No consultation whatsoever has taken place with labour as required by law' say the National Union of Metalworkers of SA and the SA Cabin Crew Association.
'Over the last two months SA Express has been battling to retrieve monies owed by SAA,' says the regional state-owned airline.
A former supplier of SA Express says the airline's financial position is worsened by the fact that one of its debtors, SAA is currently under business rescue.
The contracts of employees of SA Express have been suspended, they were informed at a meeting with the airline's provisional liquidators.
Newly appointed provisional liquidator of SA Express is in the process of investigating affairs of the state-owned regional airline.
SA Express will not be able to pay salaries for April unless it obtains financial support.
The state-owned airline's business rescue practitioners on March 25 lodged an application in Pretoria High Court for SAX be placed in provisional liquidation.
The business rescue practitioners for the struggling airline say it has requested emergency funding from the Department of Public Enterprises.
SA Express was placed under business rescue by order of the courts in early February, but the coronavirus worsened its situation.
SAA's Business Rescue Practitioners announced this past week that it would cancel a raft of domestic air travel routes, eliciting a strong rejection from organised labour. On Friday afternoon President Cyril Ramaphosa said he also disagreed with the decision.
Shortly after the ruling was handed down on Thursday, SA Express said it had instructed its attorneys to appeal.
The High Court in Johannesburg has reserved judgment in an application brought by a private logistics company for SA Express to be placed in business rescue over unpaid debt.
The Eastern Cape transport department has blamed SA Express for a flight from Johannesburg to Mthatha being turned away from the airport when it attempted to land 10 minutes after its closing time, Dispatch Live reported.
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