DA seeks answers over SA Express payments to Trillian, Regiments

SA Express paid Trillian Capital Partners R5.7 million in 2016 for a funding plan and balance sheet optimisation.

An SA Express plane. Picture: Facebook.com

PARLIAMENT - The Democratic Alliance (DA) will be demanding that the state’s ailing regional airline, SA Express, make public the funding plans that it paid two consultancy firms R13 million for.

One of those firms is Trillian Capital Partners, which is linked to the Gupta family and was paid millions by Eskom to facilitate tenders.

The revelations have been made by Public Enterprises Minister Lynne Brown in a written response to a parliamentary question from DA’s Natasha Mazzone.

In August, Brown told the Standing Committee on Public Accounts that SA Express will also need a capital injection to keep its planes in the sky.

SA Express paid Trillian Capital Partners R5.7 million in 2016 for a funding plan and balance sheet optimisation.

The transaction was approved by the airlines’ CEO and chief financial officer.

Between 2013 and 2015 the airline also paid R8 million to another firm, Regiments, for the same services.

Before joining Trillian in 2016, its CEO Eric Wood was a director at Regiments Capital.

The DA’s Natasha Mazzone says: “There are a whole lot of companies that we don’t really know what exactly their role is and why we’re using them that are being paid small fortunes by these public entities.”

The latest unaudited results from SA Express show it made an R234 million loss in the 2016-17 financial year, following an R16.9 million profits in the previous year.

(Edited by Zamangwane Shange)