DA wants SAA business rescue practitioner to meet with Parliament committee


Newly appointed business rescue practitioner for South African Airways Les Matuson is legally required by the Companies Act to hold a meeting with the airline's stakeholders and the Democratic Alliance wants Parliament's Standing Committee on Public Accounts to be included in the meeting.

In a statement issued on Sunday morning, Democratic Alliance MP Alf Lees - who is a member of the Standing Committee on Public Accounts - said he had written to the committee's chairperson, Inkatha Freedom Party MP Mkhuleko Hlengwa, to request to have Parliament be part of the business rescue practioner's meeting.

Following his appointment last week, Matuson issued a statement indicating that his team will "immediately begin consultations with all affected persons and stakeholders" and will "communicate more fully in due course."

Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan on Thursday, issued a statement indicating that the national carrier would be placed under business rescue with immediate effect. The decision was made by the SAA board and supported by government, he said.

The announcement came following the leaking of a letter on Wednesday evening from President Cyril Ramaphosa to Cabinet, which stated that the national airline must enter voluntary business rescue.

The airline suffered a knock following an eight-day strike by members of the National union of Metalworkers of South Africa (Numsa) and the SA Cabin Crew Association (Sacca), which according to SAA cost it about R50m per day.

As a result, the airline has to undergo a "radical restructuring process," Gordhan previously said in a statement last Sunday.

Numsa and Sacca however have sided with trade union Solidarity's application to have SAA placed in business rescue and have criticised SAA's decision to file for voluntary business rescue as "insincere" and an attempt by the board to regain control, Fin24 previously reported.

Commenting on the business rescue process, Lees said that the consultation with Matuson is "clearly vital" for the business rescue practitioner to make a success of the process.

"The SAA board of directors has refused to publish and submit to Parliament the Annual Financial Statements for SAA, as required by law, for the past two financial years and this has made it impossible for Parliament to perform its constitutional duty of oversight over SAA which is insolvent and a massive financial drain on the South African taxpayer," Lees said.

The Standing Committee on Public Accounts has slammed the airline for failing to table is 2017/18 and 2018/19 annual financial statements – the committee has viewed this as a "total disregard" of parliamentary processes and that the conduct of the SAA board and management undermines Parliament, Fin24 previously reported.

Compiled by Lameez Omarjee

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