Looting syndicate 'running amok' at SAA Technical
The South African Airways (SAA) Technical division is under siege from a syndicate stealing aircraft components which‚ if not nipped in the bud‚ has the potential to collapse the airline.
The Standing Committee on Public Accounts (Scopa) delegation grilled the airline's top management and board about their findings.
Scopa chairperson Themba Godi said the stealing of SAA Technical components amounted to billions in lost revenue for the national carrier.
This was a challenge which‚ if addressed‚ could restore normality at SAA and end its ongoing problems‚ said Godi.
"If the security of your assets is not your priority‚ then you do not know what you're doing‚" Godi told SAA top management during the grilling at the SAA Airpark offices in Kempton Park.
"Obviously in an environment like this‚ one cannot steal alone‚ it has to be a syndicate to move things around and pass through security checks. We think there is a problem with security and we spoke to it and emphasised that people must be vetted.
"The reality is that SAA Technical is under siege from its employees who are looting brazenly and this looting has become a culture run by a syndicate of people at the bottom right to the top who must be stopped. If you get SAA Technical right‚ all problems‚ financial and otherwise will be solved."
Godi said he was pleased by the engagement with management and the board who displayed the will to get SAA back to profitability.
"I get a sense that the current CEO (Vuyani Janara) is on top of things and fully understands the business on what ought to be done to get SAA back to profitability.”
Jarana said he was pleased with the Scopa visit as it assisted the airline to improve its state of affairs and agreed with the analysis that problems facing the Technical division were an apex priority to be tackled‚ to turn the corner.
"I agree with the Scopa chair because SAA Technical revenue is 85% of the company's whole revenue and … part of running an airline is to have aircraft availability running smoothly and the cost of maintenance thereof becomes very critical so it's material. If you fix SAA Technical now‚ most of our problems will be gone. We need to fix it‚ the Scopa diagnosis is right‚" said Jarana.
The SAA CEO further added that his team had its hands on the pulse of the stealing of components and that a forensic investigation to this end had been commissioned to establish all the facts.