SAA promises staff will get wages
CASH- STRAPPED SAA has insisted in Parliament it will be able to pay its staff and suppliers, despite facing a financial crisis.
The carrier’s appearance in Parliament yesterday came as Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba warned the airline it would not get “free money” from the state to stay afloat.
The cash crisis has led to reports it was so broke it would not be able to pay staff. The airline needs a multibillion-rand rescue package from the state to stay afloat.
Despite the financial crisis, acting chief executive Musa Zwane and chief financial officer Phumeza Nhantsi assured MPs the airline would be able to meet its financial obligations and pay salaries.
Zwane said various cost-cutting measures had been put in place to bring financial stability to the airline.
But MPs said the cash crisis had reached a point where there was no money to pay staff at the end of the month.
Alf Lees of the DA said the financial reports they had seen showed the airline would not pay staff salaries and its suppliers.
Nhantsi admitted it had not paid some suppliers at the end of last month.
However, it would ensure it paid staff salaries and would settle outstanding debts with suppliers if it was given an extension on its loans.
Nhantsi would not say how much was outstanding to the suppliers and what the monthly salary bill was. He said the airline was talking to lenders to ensure the money due at the end of September was not recalled.
He said if SAA extended its loans it would be able to meet its obligations. In addition, it expected a financial bailout from the state.
“Will we be able to pay salaries and suppliers, we are making arrangements with the suppliers. Yes, we will be able to pay them,” said Nhantsi.
She said there were more than 20 suppliers they needed to pay.
Gigaba said there were many things they were working on to get the national carrier out of financial trouble, including cutting costs.