Crucial docs kept secret in Comair, SAA case

It’s claimed the heads of arguments were kept secret & even Comair’s CEO wasn’t allowed to see.

FILE. OR Tambo International. Picture: Supplied

JOHANNESBURG - The Free Market Foundation has said it's completely strange that Comair CEO Erik Venter was muzzled and crucial court documents kept secret during the airline's court case against government's South African Airways (SAA) bailout.

On Monday, the High Court in Pretoria ruled against Comair's application to declare government's loan guarantees for SAA, illegal.

This after Comair claimed they were anti-competitive and against government's own policy, and said the bailouts did not comply with the Domestic Air Transport Policy or the Public Finance Management Act.

But it's now claimed the heads of argument documents in the case were kept secret, and even Comair's CEO wasn't allowed to see them.

The foundation's Leon Louw said, "What we now have is something presumably being hidden from the public and from the media, that is even worse than we already know. We have to make an assumption that the state of affairs is worse than has been hereto appreciated."

SAA has received more than R30 billion in government guarantees and loans since 1999.

Government granted SAA a R5 billion guarantee in 2012, the latest in a number of moves to make sure that the struggling airline survives.

However, one of the conditions was that a turnaround strategy had to be developed.