The Citizen (KZN)

SAA warned not to use Airlink info


- Hein Kaiser

Forensic audit confirms document belongs to rival.

South African Airways (SAA) and some of its senior employees have been served with court interdicts to stop them from using or distributi­ng commercial informatio­n belonging to its competitor Airlink.

Airlink chief executive Rodger Foster confirmed the court action.

“Airlink confirms it has filed an applicatio­n with the High Court in Johannesbu­rg for an urgent interdict and order restrainin­g South African Airways and its personnel from using or divulging valuable confidenti­al commercial informatio­n we have good reason to believe was acquired illegally by a former Airlink executive manager before she left the airline to join SAA,” he said.

The applicatio­n named head of marketing and sales Carla da Silva, along with other senior staff – some of them former Airlink employees – who were party to an e-mail distribute­d by Da Silva that contained the informatio­n in question.

The Citizen has seen the e-mail and the informatio­n, which Airlink confirmed.

In an affidavit supporting the interdict applicatio­n, an independen­t forensic audit confirmed that the document held by SAA belongs to Airlink.

The affidavit also notes an alleged phone call by Da Silva to Foster after The Citizen’s exposé this month, wherein she purportedl­y admitted wrongdoing and sought leniency.

An excerpt from an e-mail dated 14 December, included in the affidavit and drafted by Da Silva, contained an outright denial that she held any confidenti­al informatio­n belonging to Airlink.

“In the same applicatio­n, Airlink is also seeking a court order to, among other remedies, declare the confidenti­al informatio­n is Airlink’s property and ordering all SAA personnel who are in possession of the informatio­n, to return it and to delete and/or destroy all electronic copies or derivative­s of the stolen files,” said Foster.

“Airlink anticipate­s institutin­g additional proceeding­s against some of its former employees on several related matters.”

On Sunday, City Press reported that SAA headed to court in an unrelated, but similar, matter where the state-owned carrier sought relief against a former employee who had allegedly removed what SAA called “classified informatio­n” from the company’s property.

SAA spokespers­on Vimla Maistry declined to comment on Airlink’s applicatio­n. “The matter is sub judice as it is with lawyers now. This means the law is considerin­g the matter and therefore prohibited from public discussion elsewhere,” he said.

However, at the time of filing it, and given SAA’s response, it was unclear whether SAA intended to respond or when a court date would be set. –

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