PRETORIA – The legal teams of trade union Solidarity, South African Airways (SAA) and the ministers of public enterprises and finance have agreed the national carrier will officially be under business rescue from Thursday.
The meeting at the south Gauteng deputy judge president’s chambers follows the confirmation from Wednesday night from the Presidency that SAA was to go into voluntary business rescue.
The move to try save the airline emerged two weeks ago when Solidarity launched an application in terms of the Companies Act to have the company placed under business rescue.
The Federation of Unions of South Africa described Flight Centre’s decision to cut ties with the airline was unfortunate, saying concerns that SAA flights might be grounded were premature.
It said the festive season provided an opportunity for the company to boost tourist revenue and the company could not afford to miss out on this opportunity.
Fedusa said the livelihoods of the workers were being gambled with.
The trade federation has demanded that former board chair Dudu Myeni and others responsible for the state of the carrier should be held accountable and criminally charged where applicable.
Meanwhile, unions Numsa and the South African Cabin Crew Association have denied their strike crippled SAA financially.
A business rescue practitioner will now have to be appointed and once the administrator moves in, the board stops being in charge.
There have been warnings this could have staggering implications as the practitioner will have comprehensive and unfettered power to do whatever it takes to rescue the airline.
SAA board member Martin Kingston said business rescue is the best option to save the airline.
Kingston said they had no other option.
“It provides us with the protection required for the workforce and the business. It allows the business rescue team to do its work to determine if the business can be rescued.”