DA requests full details on Gordhan and unions’ SAA Leadership Compact

Members of the SANDF dressed in protective gear can be seen escorting some of the 114 repatriated South Africans from Wuhan at the Polokwane Airport before being transported to the quarantine zone at The Ranch Resort, 14 March 2020, Polokwane. Picture: Jacques Nelles

The party wants to know whether or not this deal includes yet more billions of rands in bailouts to keep the bankrupt airline going and whether or not majority ownership of SAA will be transferred to private equity

The Democratic Alliance (DA) has expressed their intention to contact Minister of Public Enterprises Pravin Gordhan to request the full details of the Leadership Compact he has entered into with the unions representing South African Airways (SAA) employees.

This after the department of public enterprises issued a statement calling the agreement a “groundbreaking initiative.”

“The process that the Minister and SAA workers have embarked upon is bold and audacious. A Leadership Compact has been signed by all parties that commits to taking a new approach, to acknowledging that there will be a major performance-based culture change for all leadership, management and employees as the transition to a new airline takes place,” read part of the statement.

The DA also vowed to try and get the ANC Government to commit to not making any further bailouts to SAA nor provide any further government guarantees or any other form of security to the airline.

RELATED: SAA to be replaced with ‘new national carrier’

The DA expressed their disappointment at the lack of detail in the media statement.

“The question that all South Africans will be asking is whether or not this deal includes yet more billions of rands in bailouts to keep the bankrupt airline going and whether or not majority ownership of SAA will be transferred to private equity?

“It is astounding that the unions and the minister of public enterprises think that they can enter into a Leadership Compact that apparently has no details and that the BRPs, Les Matuson and Siviwe Dongwana, are then expected to implement,” added the DA.

The party is of the opinion that the agreement also seems to override the decision by the BRPs that employees were required to decide on a retrenchment package by the 1st of May 2020.

The DA also insinuated that the fact that the media statement does not make a single reference to the BRPs implies that Gordhan has seemingly taken control of them by establishing “very demanding timelines for the development of the Business Rescue Plan…” This is reportedly something that only Matuson and Dongwana can legally do.

“This demonstrates once again that the minister believes that he is in charge and what is worse the BRPs are seemingly delinquent by apparently allowing the Minister to dictate what they must do. It is unbelievable that Matuson and Dongwana can allow themselves to be sidelined in this way.”

The party reminded the pair that the legal mandate of the BRPs is to either devise an acceptable business rescue plan or, failing that, to apply for liquidation as per sections 128 to 155 of the Companies Act.

“In some five months, Matuson and Dongwana have failed to come up with a business rescue plan of any sort.”

“Despite the failure of the BRPs to produce a business rescue plan within the time limits contained in the Companies Act, they have also failed to apply for liquidation as is required by the Companies Act.”

The party concluded by stating that Matusan and Dongwana need to get their acts together and resist any interference from Gordhan.

“The public deserves clarity on the future of SAA and the full details of any agreements the minister has entered into and a guarantee that public money will not be wasted on a lost cause, especially during this time of crisis.”

The DA reiterated that it stands strongly opposed to any further bailouts either in cash or government guarantees as working capital for SAA.

“Any funding required in terms of the negotiated Leadership Compact must be raised from investors and not from the taxpayer.”

(Compiled by Kaunda Selisho)

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