SAA prom­ises staff will get wages

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - FRONT PAGE - SIYABONGA MKHWANAZI

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.

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