We must end ‘looting fiefdoms’ at SAA‚ says Scopa chair

16 August 2018 - 15:14 By Zingisa Mvumvu
Scopa chairman Themba Godi says the problem that creates these little fiefdoms‚ where people are able to loot at SAA is the structure of the relationship between the national carrier and its subsidiaries
Scopa chairman Themba Godi says the problem that creates these little fiefdoms‚ where people are able to loot at SAA is the structure of the relationship between the national carrier and its subsidiaries
Image: Robert Tshabalala

Standing Committee on Public Accounts (Scopa) chairman Themba Godi has called for the restructuring of the South African Airways (SAA) to end "looting fiefdoms" at the national carrier.

Godi made the comment following an intense grilling of the SAA board and executive management at Airways Park in Kempton Park on Thursday. The committee was dealing with challenges confronting the airline.

During the engagement with the board it was agreed that SAA subsidiaries‚ particularly Mango and SAA Technical‚ were running their own show with impunity.

Godi said that aircraft components are being stolen "like there is no tomorrow".

SAA board chair JB Magwaza called the two subsidiaries "problem areas"‚ while board member Ahmed Bassa charged that SAA Technical and Mango were running parallel from the SAA group.

Scopa member and EFF MP Veronica Mente said this situation should not be allowed‚ charging that SAA was losing R5-billion as a result of challenges brought about by unaccountable SAA Technical.

MP Saki Kekana added that SAA Technical had become "untouchable and a standalone"‚ so much so that SAA group chief executive Vuyani Jarana said it "cannot intervene and nobody is doing anything to end this".

Godi‚ in agreement with Scopa members and Magwaza‚ said the Achilles’ heel was a company structure that allowed SAA Technical and Mango to have separate boards and chief executives‚ who refuse to account to Jarana.

Godi said: "The problem that creates these little fiefdoms‚ where people are able to loot like there is no tomorrow‚ is the structure of the relationship between SAA group and its subsidiaries‚ which creates an 'us' and 'them' situation.

"So you will find that when SAA group wants to intervene there are push backs. Our call is for integration‚ where the boards of subsidiaries are constituted by senior managers at SAA and report to the SAA board to have a seamless interaction because right now it is governed by personal attitudes."

Godi said the review of the SAA structure would help improve the financial situation of the state entity.

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