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SAA appoints Les Matuson to lead business rescue process

Trade unions had given the board until Friday to provide an undertaking that they would not play a role in this appointment.

FILE: The Democratic Alliance said if the national carrier survived business rescue, it should be privatised. Picture: EWN.

TSHWANE - Within hours of filing its notice to be placed under voluntary business rescue, the South African Airways (SAA) board on Thursday appointed senior business rescue practitioner Les Matuson to lead the process.

Trade unions had given the board until Friday to provide an undertaking that they would not play a role in this appointment. The parties were concerned that the shareholder, government, and airline management would interfere in the process.

• SAA: Business rescue will accelerate proposed restructuring

Matuson brings significant credentials to the table having been in the industry for 35 years and providing advice to companies facing financial crisis situations. But, this appointment came as a shock to trade unions who had filed a letter with SAA on Thursday saying they wanted to play a role in the appointment decision.

Before Matuson was appointed, the South African Cabin Crew Association’s president Zazi Sibanyoni-Mugambi had this to say about the board’s involvement in the process.

“We do not believe that the choice of a business rescue practitioner should be placed in their hands. We believe that they should stay very far away from it. A proper, independent, reputable, business rescue practitioner should be appointed. And we don’t believe they are the best people to do that,” Sibanyoni-Mugambi said.

Sibanyoni-Mugambi said they had been left with no choice to take part in this process.

“We obviously had to go down this business rescue way. We want it to be done right and we’ve said the board and management have done a lousy job historically. They should stay completely out of it while we work to save the day.”

Meanwhile, the Democratic Alliance said if the national carrier survived business rescue, it should be privatised.