Parly Finance Committee chair says he was pressured to postpone SAA meeting

ANC MP Yunus Carrim told the committee that he was approached by officials from within Treasury and SAA to delay the meeting, which was scheduled six weeks ago.

Picture: EWN

CAPE TOWN - The chairperson of Parliament’s Standing Committee on Finance has revealed that he was put under pressure to postpone Tuesday’s meeting, where the South African Airways (SAA) board was expected to give a progress report on the airline’s finances and turnaround plans.

ANC MP Yunus Carrim told the committee that he was approached by officials from within Treasury and SAA to delay the meeting, which was scheduled six weeks ago.

Carrim says that one reason given was that the meeting could jeopardise sensitive negotiations related to SAA’s bid to renegotiate with lenders the airline's debt of about R9 billion that becomes due for repayment on Friday.

The absence yesterday of any other SAA board member apart from the chairperson Dudu Myeni meant that the committee focused only on SAA’s debt obligations and its ability to pay salaries.

Treasury Director-General Dondo Mogajane warned that if SAA does not meet its debt obligations, it could put the government’s entire loan-guarantee framework at risk.

"We are seized with the matter, and it’s important to note that we know if we don’t do anything about it, all guarantees may be called, and which may find us in serious problems. We are comfortable that SAA is assuring us, where we sit as a shareholder, that they will be able to meet their salaries and obligations and so on."

Standing Committee on Finance chair Yunus Carrim says that both Treasury and SAA will be held to account for these reassurances. The SAA board is now due to appear before the committee at a freshly scheduled meeting on 3 August.