Public enterprises working 'urgently' to keep SAA flying

27 November 2019 - 18:15 By Ernest Mabuza
The government says it is working closely with SAA to keep the airline operating.
The government says it is working closely with SAA to keep the airline operating.

The department of public enterprises said on Wednesday that it is working with SAA to ensure that it's able to keep operating.

It said the one-week strike at the airline, and the cancellation of bookings as a consequence, had resulted in a sudden deterioration of SAA’s financial position.

"Accordingly, the department of public enterprises is working together with SAA to urgently formulate immediate actions that will be required to provide support to enable SAA to carry on its business," said the department in a statement on Wednesday afternoon.

The department added that additional details would be announced over the next week.

Business Day reported on Wednesday that employees of SAA will be paid 50% of their November salary and a 13th cheque on Wednesday, with the balance hopefully paid on Monday.

The department, however, said SAA could not continue "as is”.

Government efforts under minister Pravin Gordhan were focused on ensuring that:

  • the airline is stabilised in the short term and has the necessary support from all stakeholders;
  • governance and leadership issues are being addressed, including the process of appointing effective managers; and
  • the airline returns to a stronger financial footing in the medium to longer term.

"None of this can be achieved without the necessary contributions by all the key roleplayers in the airline," said the department.

"The actions being undertaken by the minister include involving relevant stakeholders so that they can participate in the support initiative."