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CityPress - - Business - PETER DE IONNO busi­ness@city­press.co.za

n ap­proach by an SAA di­rec­tor re­quest­ing that Bid­vest trans­fer 30% of its air­craft-toi­let-clean­ing sub­sidiary busi­ness to an SAA-nom­i­nated black-owned small busi­ness has been po­litely but firmly kicked into touch. Although the let­ter, leaked to City Press, in­vites Yakhe Kwinana – the SAA nonex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor who made the re­quest – to de­tail the re­quested changes in writ­ing, it also lists sev­eral hur­dles that would make an agree­ment to the pro­posal all but im­pos­si­ble.

Lind­say Ralphs, the chief ex­ec­u­tive of Bid­vest SA, on Fri­day con­firmed that the let­ter, dated June 30, was gen­uine, although he said he was dis­mayed that con­fi­den­tial cor­re­spon­dence had been leaked.

He said the ap­proach by Kwinana to op­er­a­tional man­age­ment of BidAir Ser­vices at OR Tambo In­ter­na­tional Air­port had been re­ported to Bid­vest ex­ec­u­tives, but it did not amount to a for­mal ap­proach to the com­pany.

The na­ture of the ap­proach by Kwinana to BidAir Ser­vices emerged as Ralphs and his co-sig­na­tory, Mpumi Madisa, asked Kwinana to ex­plain her re­quest.

Kwinana and fel­low nonex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor Dudu Myeni were the only two board mem­bers re­tained when Public En­ter­prises Min­is­ter Lynne Brown ap­pointed an in­terim board in Oc­to­ber with a man­date to sta­bilise the strug­gling na­tional car­rier.

In the let­ter, Bid­vest spells out that BidAir Ser­vices is 63.42% black-owned, with a 24.85% stake owned by black women.

It point­edly asks Kwinana: “Is the trans­fer of 30% of the con­tract to an SAA-nom­i­nated, black-owned small busi­ness a pre­req­ui­site for the up­com­ing ten­der?”

A cru­cial ref­er­ence to com­pany struc­ture says that, as BidAir Ser­vices also pro­vides toi­let-clean­ing ser­vices to car­ri­ers other than SAA, a new com­pany would have to be formed to ten­der for the con­tract.

“Kindly ad­vise who SAA in­tends nom­i­nat­ing for the 30% share­hold­ing,” it says.

In ad­di­tion to rais­ing is­sues ac­quir­ing an op­er­at­ing li­cence for the new com­pany, Bid­vest also asked whether the SAA-nom­i­nated small busi­ness would be able to fund the es­ti­mated R20 mil­lion worth of equip­ment re­quired for a new con­tract.

A fi­nal telling point comes in a para­graph re­fer­ring to ten­ure, say­ing the de­pre­ci­a­tion pe­riod for the equip­ment was nor­mally 10 years, and asked “how this chal­lenge could pos­si­bly be ad­dressed”, as the nor­mal con­tract term was three years.

Ralphs was re­luc­tant to dis­cuss the is­sue be­cause he said Bid­vest had not had any for­mal en­gage­ment with Kwinana.

How­ever, he said there ap­peared to be a num­ber of

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