Parly meeting to discuss SAA’s financial woes to be held in secret

Parliamentary rules allow for meetings to be held in secret when a matter could be prejudicial to a particular person, is protected under parliamentary privilege.

Picture: Supplied.

CAPE TOWN - A parliamentary meeting to discuss the ongoing problems of the national airline is set to be held in secret on the back of disclosure from Treasury last week that the South African Airways (SAA) needs a R5 billion bailout.

The decision has outraged the opposition, which says they were not consulted about closing the meeting to the public.

The Democratic Alliance (DA) says it wants to know exactly who requested the closed-door meeting and the reasons for it.

According to the Parliamentary programme, SAA will brief the Standing Committee on Finance about its latest quarterly report on Wednesday. But neither the media nor the public will be allowed to attend.

Parliamentary rules allow for meetings to be held in secret when a matter could be prejudicial to a particular person, is protected under parliamentary privilege, or is confidential in legislation.

The DA’s Alf Lees says SAA, which received R10 billion from the fiscus last year, is accountable to the taxpayer.

“The question is whether a committee of Parliament, under these circumstances, is allowed to close the meeting. My view is it cannot. Even if we all agree to it, we cannot close the meeting.”

When SAA's top executives last appeared before the committee, they said they couldn't answer some of the members of parliament’s questions on route viability in public, because it was market-sensitive information.

The acting chairperson of the committee has not responded to request for comment.

(Edited by Winnie Theletsane)