Zuma still considering ANCWL's SAA commission of inquiry proposal - Presidency


Durban - President Jacob Zuma is still considering issues around a request to establish a commission of inquiry into the affairs of South African Airways (SAA), the Presidency said on Friday.

Presidency spokesperson Bongani Ngqulunga said Zuma had received a letter from the ANC Women's League (ANCWL) calling for the establishment of a commission of inquiry into SAA. 

"The president is looking into the issues that have been raised by the ANC Women's League and the proposal for a commission of inquiry."

Andile Mngxitama's Black First Land First (BLF) has also made the same request.

Ngqulunga said the BLF's letter specifically requested that Zuma appoint a commission of inquiry to investigate Coleman Andrews' tenure as SAA CEO.

Ngqulunga confirmed that Zuma had received the letters and was considering the requests.

Among the claims made by the ANC Women's League is that SAA spent more than R10bn per annum on jet fuel.

Read the full statement here

The ANCWL also took issue with the state-owned entity's former CEO.

“Former CEO Coleman Andrews, who received a payment of R232.2m tax free during his two-and-a-half years at SAA, failed to disclose to the board of SAA during his appointment that he was the founding member of Bain and Company together with his wife.”

The women's league also claimed that only 2% of R24bn in annual procurement was spent on black suppliers and that an Ernst and Young report had uncovered corruption and irregular awarding of tenders but had not been publicly released.

The league also asked Zuma to look into allegations that all ticket sale tenders advertised were unilaterally awarded mainly to "white owned companies".

Mngxitama said his organisation had sent two letters to the president requesting him to establish a commission of inquiry into SAA, specifically under Andrews' tenure.

Mngxitama said when the BLF took a closer look into SAA's affairs it discovered that "the source of the ills of the airline come from one man, Coleman Andrews. He sold all the aircrafts only for them to be sold back to SAA".

Letter sent to Treasury

He said the commission should investigate the more than R200m he gave himself for working for two years at SAA.

"He brought Bains and Company back then which is responsible for the whole mess at SAA. He is the founding member and the one that criminally sabotaged SAA and institutionalised white looting in state-owned enterprises by white capital."

Mngxitama said the first letter that the organisation sent to the president in September had also been sent to Treasury.

"We gave Treasury a memorandum of demand and we met one of Treasury's [deputy director generals) and gave them the letter. Towards the end of October Pravin Gordhan went and hired Bain and Company, this is the same company that looted and brought the crisis which we are saying should be investigated."

He said it was a criminal dereliction of duty on the part of Gordhan to hire Bain and Company.

"Now we are considering criminal charges against Gordhan. How can he, knowing that Bain was responsible for looting and the subject of a request for an investigation into the company, hire the same company back into SAA?"

"It shows that Pravin does not care and he does not protect national assets, he creates the conditions for looting by white capital."

SAA will 'co-operate'

He said he was not sure whether or not Gordhan was directly benefitting from the deal.

Treasury declined to comment on the matter saying: "The letter is addressed to the president of the country. National Treasury is not in apposition to comment on it and its content."

SAA spokesperson Tlali Tlali confirmed that the board had been made aware of BLF's request.

"As you will appreciate, the authority to decide on whether or not to institute a commission of inquiry vests in the president."

He said the board would co-operate should the president deem it necessary to institute a commission to investigate the affairs at SAA.

"The [SAA] board and management will support setting up of such a commission, especially if this will among other things, bring recommendations whose implementation may take the company forward," he said.

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