‘There is massive collusion & fraud at SAA’

Deputy finance minister Sfiso Buthelezi was answering questions at a meeting of Parliament’s watchdog over government spending, the standing committee on public accounts.

FILE: Deputy Finance Minister Sfiso Buthelezi.  Picture: Christa Eybers/EWN

CAPE TOWN - Deputy finance minister Sfiso Buthelezi says there is “massive collusion and fraud” at South African Airways (SAA).

Buthelezi was answering questions at a meeting of Parliament’s watchdog over government spending, the Standing Committee on Public Accounts.

SAA Board Chairperson Dudu Myeni and top executives faced questions on the beleaguered airline’s viability and governance, as well as irregular, fruitless and wasteful expenditure during the past financial year.

Buthelezi says there’s no doubt that SAA is an airline with “serious problems” - some of them legacy issues, some due to pure mismanagement, some down to criminality.

“Let me say without fear of contradicting myself there’s massive collusion and fraud at SAA. I think we are able to say that because we’ve had sight of some of the draft reports (of investigations) that have been brought to us.”

Buthelezi says SAA will not be allowed to go under and will not be privatised.

He says Cabinet is seized with the issue of a fresh capital injection to keep the airline afloat, at a time when it is battling to find the cash to pay suppliers and has nearly R7 billion in loans becoming due next month when new CEO Vuyani Jarana is also expected to come aboard.

(Edited by Zinhle Nkosi)