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‘SAA quickly reaching tipping point’

The SA Pilots Association and Outa are taking legal action against Dudu Myeni, asking the courts to declare her a ‘delinquent director’.

FILE: An SAA aircraft. Picture: AFP

JOHANNESBURG – The South African Pilots Association says the airline is in distress as a direct result of dysfunctional leadership by Dudu Myeni.

The association, along with civil action group, the Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse (Outa) have decided to take legal action against South African Airways's (SAA) board chairperson in an attempt to declare her a ‘delinquent director’.

Both parties believe Myeni played a role in a number of botched deals that have affected the airline, and further claim the SAA has lost an estimated R10.5 billion over a period of just five years.

According to them, the board chair’s involvement in the illegal appointment of BNP capital as a financial adviser, interference in the emirates deal and the misrepresentation of a board resolution for the airbus deal has motivated their application for a court order.

The pilot association's Jimmy Conroy explains.

“Our national carrier is quickly reaching tipping point, where its very survival is in question.”

If the court rules in their favour, Myeni would be disqualified as a director and would not be allowed to hold any senior or executive position for at least seven years.

SA EXPRESS A ‘PROBLEM CHILD’

Public Enterprises Minister Lynne Brown says regional state airline SA Express faced a cash crunch in February when it was unable to pay R150 million it owed two banks and government had to step in.

Brown’s told Parliament’s public enterprises committee that SA Express faces serious challenges that will only be fully addressed once state airlines are restructured.

The minister describes SA Express as her 'problem child' – the only one of the six state-owned companies under her department with a question mark over its financial viability.

Brown says the regional airline took more than 12 months to borrow against a government guarantee for more than a year and then couldn’t meet a R150 million debt repayment earlier this year.

“We were able to help the state-owned company to renegotiate with both banks… they paid over R58 million and the rest of those instalments will be based on a proposed repayment profile supported by financial projections until January 2018.”

The minister says many of SA Express’s aircraft are grounded and it is unable to show the auditor general it is able to continue operating as a going concern.

(Edited by Masechaba Sefularo)