‘There’s still a rea­son­able prospect of sav­ing SAA’

Pretoria News - - NATION - LOYISO SIDIMBA [email protected]

SOUTH African Air­ways busi­ness res­cue prac­ti­tion­ers say there is a rea­son­able prospect the trou­bled na­tional car­rier can be saved de­spite the in­evitable risks and chal­lenges.

The air­line’s busi­ness res­cue prac­ti­tion­ers, Les Ma­tu­son and Siviwe Dong­wana, told its cred­i­tors and em­ploy­ees last month their plan could be suc­cess­fully im­ple­mented sub­ject to the avail­abil­ity of fur­ther post-com­mence­ment fund­ing and on­go­ing sup­port from all stakeholde­rs in­clud­ing the gov­ern­ment, staff, trade unions and sup­pli­ers.

Ma­tu­son and Dong­wana un­der­took to in­ves­ti­gate all op­tions and take into ac­count stakeholde­rs’ in­put.

The busi­ness res­cue prac­ti­tion­ers met cred­i­tors and staff on De­cem­ber 20 at the Sand­ton, Joburg, head of­fice of the con­ti­nent’s largest law firm ENSafrica.

“We be­lieve the busi­ness res­cue process will achieve a better out­come for all stakeholde­rs than an im­me­di­ate liq­ui­da­tion,” they told cred­i­tors and em­ploy­ees.

Ma­tu­son and Dong­wana warned that due to SAA leas­ing most of its air­craft, in the event of liq­ui­da­tion there would be limited as­sets to be re­alised for dis­tri­bu­tion to cred­i­tors.

SAA, which has more than 5400 em­ploy­ees, has third party li­a­bil­i­ties of more than R20.4bil­lion while an­nual turnover is about R24bn.

The busi­ness res­cue prac­ti­tion­ers were ex­pected to out­line their plans to save the trou­bled na­tional car­rier by next Mon­day, but have asked for a month-long ex­ten­sion.

Ma­tu­son and Dong­wana have 25 days to present the plan in terms of the Com­pa­nies Act, and it has to be pub­lished by next week (Jan­uary13).

How­ever, they may be granted an ex­ten­sion by a court or through a ma­jor­ity of cred­i­tors.

At the meet­ings, Ma­tu­son and Dong­wana told SAA’s cred­i­tors and em­ploy­ees that they were eval­u­at­ing var­i­ous sce­nar­ios and fund­ing re­quire­ments but still needed to con­sult var­i­ous stakeholde­rs to es­tab­lish their level of agree­ment and pre­ferred sce­nar­ios.

Ma­tu­son and Dong­wana, how­ever, re­quested an ex­ten­sion to Fe­bru­ary14 to pub­lish their plan and re­quested cred­i­tors not in favour of this to its sub­mit their ob­jec­tion let­ters to the in­de­pen­dent chair of the cred­i­tors’ com­mit­tee.

Af­ter the busi­ness res­cue plan has been pre­sented it will be con­sid­ered and voted on.

De­spite its well doc­u­mented chal­lenges, this week SAA was named as one of the top-per­form­ing air­lines glob­ally for on-time per­for­mance by travel data and an­a­lyt­ics com­pany Cir­ium.

Tourism Min­is­ter Mamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane yes­ter­day con­grat­u­lated the na­tional car­rier for be­ing ranked fourth in the cat­e­gory for the Mid­dle East and African main­line car­ri­ers.

Ac­cord­ing to Kubayi-Ngubane, SAA is the lead­ing African air­line in terms of on-time per­for­mance, which in­di­cates that an air­line is on time when it ar­rives within 15 min­utes of its scheduled time of ar­rival or departs within 15 min­utes of its scheduled de­par­ture time.

Mamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane

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