Cabinet lauds progress made by SAA BRPs as workers continue salary protests

Unions have slammed the officials for failing to prioritise workers’ livelihoods as they work to implement their rescue plan.

Picture: South African Airways

JOHANNESBURG/ CAPE TOWN - As South African Airways (SAA) workers continue to protest the company’s non-payment of salaries, Cabinet said it appreciated the progress made by the national carrier's business rescue practitioners (BRPs).

Unions have slammed the officials for failing to prioritise workers’ livelihoods as they work to implement their rescue plan.

The matter formed part of issues discussed by the Cabinet at its meeting this week.

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Cabinet said it has directed the Department of Public Enterprises to finalise the appointed of an interim board for SAA.

They also want the department to conclude the appointment of a strategic equity partner for the airline’s restructuring.

There's much that is still up in the air for SAA, as it faces an uncertain future.

Cabinet has implored the public enterprise department to urgently implement key initiatives for the emergence of a new restructured, efficient and techno-savvy national airline.

But it did not address the salaries dilemma, leaving that to the Department of Public Enterprises that pleaded for patience in a statement released on Friday.

Meanwhile, the Democratic Alliance (DA) is planning a legal challenge to Treasury’s decision to fund SAA’s business rescue plan before Parliament passed the Medium-Term Budget.

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The official opposition has also slammed Treasury for cutting basic services in order to find the R10.5 billion needed to execute the plan.

MPs debated and finally passed the MTBPS which will see a number of budgets adjusted.

Parliament has heard that government on Thursday made an initial payment of R1.5 billion to SAA.

But that came before the budget had actually been passed into law.

DA finance spokesperson Geordin Hill-Lewis said this showed disrespect for Parliament and disregard for the law.

“This shows gross disrespect for Parliament and disregard for the law. It is quite possibly illegal, and the DA has taken legal advice right now on whether it can be stopped. Every ANC MP, every person in this House should be outraged at the disrespect shown to Parliament.”

Responding to the debate, Finance Minister Tito Mboweni took a swipe at opposition parties whom he accused of political point-scoring.

He said the country remained fully behind the African National Congress: “Recent by-elections have demonstrated that the majority of South Africans have full confidence in the African National Congress and this can be verified by the by-elections that we won and the African National Congress is ready, able and willing to lead this country.”

The MTBPS has now passed muster in the National Assembly and will go on to the NCOP for concurrence.

FROM THE ARCHIVES: Employees shut down SAA

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