The Federation of Unions of South Africa (FEDUSA) has called on National Treasury to drop South Africa Airways (SAA) Chairperson Dudu Myeni at the airliner’s AGM on Thursday.
FEDUSA General Secretary Dennis George said getting rid of the bumbling Myeni would afford the SAA Board and a new Chief Executive and his Team vital space to at last implement a turn-around strategy for the airline – which has so far gone through endless iterations – and plug the multi-billion black hole in state guarantees once and for all.
“Such a step is critical if we are to bring our national flag carrier back from the brink to profitability and will allow government to stop the heavy bleeding of scarce fiscus resources in the form of state guarantees and to channel those wasted resources to stalled development projects; and to address vital corporate governance issues,” said George.
“To allow the status quo to continue will be to continue feeding the insatiable state capture beast that has wreaked havoc in our country and will bequeath an intolerable financial burden on future generations. FEDUSA has filed a Section 77 Notice with NEDLAC to force President Jacob Zuma to appoint a Commission of Inquiry into State Capture as recommended by former Public Protector Thuli Madonsela in herState of Capture Report. We believe that President Zuma is dabbling in delaying tactics by challenging the terms of reference of the recommendations in court”.
Myeni was appointed to the SAA Board in 2009 but her leadership since being appointed Chair in 2012 has been disastrous both in governance terms and financially with the national carrier repeatedly begging National Treasury for billions of rands in bail-outs. To date SAA has borrowed R20 billion including the latest R2.2 billion in state guarantees, although Treasury has argued that the latest trunch was fiscally neutral.
Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba has indicated in media reports that the controversial extension of Myeni’s term by one year will not be renewed beyond the AGM on Thursday.
Weekend media reports have also suggested that the government was thinking about selling its R13 billion stake in highly profitable communications parastatal Telkom to raise money for yet another bailout of SAA.
Such a move will force tax payers to shoulder a commercial risk that they did not create in the first place were it to happen, concluded George.
However the Airline Pilots Association of South Africa (ALPSA), an affiliate of FEDUSA in the aviation industry doubts whether the SAA AGM will take place on Thursday given its financial conundrum.
“There is some speculation as to whether the SAA AGM will go ahead as scheduled as the Airline is required by Company law to be a going concern for the auditors to sign off on the financials,” said ALPSA Chairman Jimmy Conroy.
“As we all know, the Airline is far from being a going concern at the moment which means that the auditors won’t approve the financials, the financials can’t be presented, the AGM won’t go ahead and Ms Myeni will remain Chairperson for a little longer”.