Problems at South African Airways (SAA), one of the state-owned enterprises accused of state capture, continue to pile up, writes Legalbrief. The organisation remains in the eye of the storm with the shock departure of the airline’s former CEO Vuyani Jarana and the leaking of his strongly worded resignation letter continuing to reverberate. City Press reports that the South African Cabin Crew Association (Sacca) and the National Union of Metalworkers of SA (Numsa) last week submitted a memorandum to SAA demanding that Jarana be reinstated. However, the Department of Public Enterprises, which is headed by Minister Pravin Gordhan, in response to queries submitted to the department’s spokesperson, Adrian Lackay, made clear there was no chance he was coming back. ‘The former SAA CEO resigned of his own accord. He will not be reinstated. The manner in which he resigned, despite the board’s requests to conduct himself in a responsible manner with regards to his resignation, exposed the airline to considerable risk amongst lenders and suppliers,’ Lackay said. The report says Jarana declined to talk on his cell phone and referred queries regarding his tenure at the airline to the SAA board. SAA spokesperson Tlali Tlali confirmed that the airline was in receipt of the memoranda received from the two trade unions.
Unions at SAA said earlier the airline has requested one week to deal with their demands for reinstating Jarana as group CEO and a complete overhaul of the board. According to Business Report, SAA’s cabin crew members are represented in Sacca while Numsa members work at SAA Technical and airports in SA. They said though the board had informed the public that it has government’s backing on the turnaround strategy, SAA board chair JB Magwaza allegedly told them there was no funding for the turnaround strategy and no funding capital for the airline.
Pilots are also threatening to go on strike over the national airline’s management and the appointment of interim CEO Zuks Ramasia. The SAA Pilots Association (Saapa) is quoted in a Business Day report as saying the carrier would not survive unless critical operational and technical deficiencies were immediately addressed by a competent management team. ‘SAA needs an interim CEO with the appropriate experience and financial acumen to successfully run a major airline. Unfortunately, Ms Ramasia is not that person,’ Saapa said. ‘We are canvassing members on the appropriate action to take. At this stage, we cannot rule out embarking on lawful industrial action – for the first time in our 80-year history – to force the necessary changes at SAA,’ the association is quoted as saying.