SAA unions lay criminal charges against board members, executives

SAA's rescue practitioners had to stop paying salaries in May already due to lack of funds.
SAA's rescue practitioners had to stop paying salaries in May already due to lack of funds.

Members of the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (NUMSA) and the South Africa Cabin Crew Association (SACCA) marched to the Kempton Park police station on Wednesday to lay criminal charges against current and former executives and board members of South African Airways (SAA) and its subsidiary SAA Technical (SAAT).

In the view of the two unions, this is due to the board members and executives during the period of 2016 to 2020 failing to execute their fiduciary duties and for allowing corruption to take place through white collar crime at these entities. 

"They also took no action as corruption, fraud and theft to took place - collapsing these entities. This has lead to our members losing their jobs," the unions said in a statement. 

According to SACCA President Zazi Nsibanyoni-Mugambi, the actions or lack of action by these current and former board members and executives have "destroyed" SAA and SAAT.

"Someone must account for it and we will continue to put pressure on the authorities. Thousands of people cannot lose their jobs and no one takes responsibility," she said.

South African Airways is currently in business rescue. More than 3 000 of its almost 5 000 employees applied for voluntary severance packages and the rest are undergoing a retrenchment process which intends to leave only about 1 000 employees for an intended new, restructured SAA.

About R2.2 billion of the R10.5 billion allocated by Finance Minister Tito Mboweni in his mini budget is set to be paid out as severance packages to employees in terms of the rescue plan. When employees will receive any money, is as yet unclear. 

SAA's rescue practitioners had to stop paying salaries in May already due to lack of funds.

Former SAA board chair Dudu Myeni has already been found to be a delinquent director, but is appealing the ruling. She and former SAA board member Yakhe Kwinana have been among SAA directors and employees already testifying at the Zondo Commission into State Capture about goings on at SAA, including alleged tender irregularities. The commission has also heard testimony relating to issues at SAAT.

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