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Scopa furious over SA Express liquidators' no show

Deputy Public Enterprises Minister Phumulo Masualle told lawmakers that the liquidators had applied for a three-month extension, sparking outrage in the committee.

A general view of an SA Express plane. Picture: SA Express

CAPE TOWN - The liquidators of failing regional airline SA Express could find themselves officially summoned to appear before Parliament’s Standing Committee on Public Accounts (Scopa).

The committee, which is a watchdog over public spending, was supposed to have received an update on the progress in liquidating SA Express on Tuesday. Today was also the date for a final liquidation hearing to be heard in court.

Instead, deputy Public Enterprises Minister Phumulo Masualle told lawmakers that the liquidators had applied for a three-month extension, sparking outrage in the committee.

Scopa chairperson Mkhuleko Hlengwa said that the liquidators of SA Express would now be called to come before the committee next Wednesday, but that he would seek permission for subpoenas to be issued to summon them to appear if it’s necessary.

Hlengwa said that the liquidators were brought in to try and sort out problems at the airline, where staff had not been paid salaries since February but said that their behavior did not inspire confidence.

"They are gambling with the sustainable livelihoods of workers on the one hand and testing the already fragile South African economy on the other hand, with the kind of behavior they are employing. It’s unprofessional, it’s unacceptable and the fact that we find ourselves in this situation again today is indicative of people who have got an allergy to oversight and accountability."

Democratic Alliance (DA) MP Alf Lees told the meeting that the liquidators had been granted a three-month extension by the court this morning.

Deputy Public Enterprises Minister Phumulo Masualle apologised for the liquidators’ failure to appear.

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