SAA's business rescue practitioners may have a date with Parliament

The chair of Parliament's oversight committee on public enterprises, Khaya Magaxa, says he will be inviting the business rescue practitioners of South African Airways to brief Parliament on their progress. 

The cash-strapped national carrier was placed into voluntary business rescue in December last year. The decision was taken by the airline's board and supported by government. SAA this week cancelled a number of flights in an effort to save cash. 

Since the business rescue process began, the department of public enterprises has been at pains to stress its commitment to giving the beleaguered airline adequate support.

In a statement released on Wednesday, Magaxa, an ANC MP, said the committee wanted to invite the practitioners to Parliament to provide a comprehensive update. He did not say when he proposed the practitioners brief Parliament. 

"Media reports last week indicated that the SAA business rescue practitioners had not received the required R2bn. Last year the airline was placed under business rescue, and government and creditors' committed R4bn to the process," said Magaxa.

The R2bn is a reference to funding promised to the airline by National Treasury. The R2bn was supposed to form part of a larger R4bn post business rescue commencement finance package.  On Sunday the department of public enterprises said it was still working with National Treasury to raise the promised funds.  "We are determined to contribute to the Business Rescue process so that we could minimise job losses and give birth to a rejuvenated SAA that all South Africans could be proud of," the department said. 

Magaxa added the committee needed a well thought-out strategy to oversee state-owned enterprises, instead of an ad hoc and crisis-led approach

"The committee will meet to discuss and develop an approach which will include engagements with different stakeholders within the sector in order to address and tackle the challenges that SAA faces," Magaxa said.

While the ANC has maintained that SAA should remain state-held, the business practitioners are placed to make the final recommendation. Members of Parliament in 2019 agreed that the days of the government bailing SAA out had to end. 

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