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Sale of SAA aircraft ‘demonstration of rampant looting’, says Numsa

Unions have raised suspicion after the cash-strapped airline put up a tender notice on its website this week about selling nine aircraft and fifteen spare engines.

South African Airways plane. Picture: Facebook

JOHANNESBURG – The National Union for Metalworkers of South Africa (Numsa) and the South African Cabin Crew Association (Sacca) have raised suspicion over the sale of aircraft at South African Airways (SAA).

The financially strapped airline put up a tender notice on its website this week about selling nine aircraft and 15 spare engines.

SAA says the sale is to accommodate the new airbus it recently added to its fleet and has nothing to do with being placed under business rescue.

The unions claim that the SAA board and management are selling assets so that nothing is left and the national carrier remains a shell by the time that business rescue is implemented.

Numsa spokesperson Phakamile Hlubi-Majola said, “The sale of the aircraft is another demonstration of the rampant looting and corruption which has brought SAA to this point of collapse; and it is for this reason that we are also demanding the immediate suspension of the entire SAA senior executive leadership, pending an independent investigation into the sale of the sale aircraft.”

At the same time, Martin Kingston has been quoted by Bloomberg as saying that there is no need to be on the board of SAA while the business rescue practitioners do their work.

The national carrier has been looking to improve its cash flow to turnaround the business.

It has put nine of its aircraft up for sale to accommodate the new airbus, which the airline recently added to its fleet.

The national carrier says the sale has nothing to do with the fact that the airline is under business rescue.

However, SAA says it has still not received R2 billion it needs from treasury to keep the carrier operational.

There are concerns that if it doesn't receive the money soon, some operations may be under threat.