The Standing Committee on Finance has postponed the South African Airways’ (SAAs’) quarterly briefing to 3 August 2017, after the SAA board was represented only by its Chairperson, Ms Dudu Myeni.
The Committee agreed to focus only on the SAA’s ability to manage the loans due to mature at the end of June and the airline’s capacity to pay its salary bill.
The National Treasury and the SAA insisted that the loans will be managed without burdening the fiscus and that the SAA was able to pay its salary bill in April and May. The Committee assured them that it will hold them both to account for these assurances, should they not be fulfilled.
“The norm in our Committee has been for boards of state-owned entities to be represented by the Chairperson or Deputy Chairperson and at least one other member. Members from the four political parties present at the meeting agreed that it would not be appropriate to consider the SAA’s quarterly report in the absence of at least one other board member, especially in views of claims that the Board Chair has missed several important board meetings,” said Mr Yunus Carrim, the Chairperson of the Committee.
The Committee resolved that in future the SAA board should be represented by at least three non-executive board members, including the Chairperson or Deputy Chairperson.
The Committee further noted an apology from the Acting Chief Executive Officer, who did not attend the meeting due to ill health.
“We also had to postpone the meeting because of the astonishingly thin and weak quarterly report from the SAA, which did not address any of the key issues. We urge National Treasury to take its oversight function of the SAA more seriously and the SAA to prepare properly for its next quarterly briefing to the Committee,” Mr Carrim said.
The Committee reassured Ms Myeni that she will be given an opportunity to respond to allegations levelled against her at the meeting on 3 August.
The Committee said it would be unfair to draw a final conclusion in relation to the allegations levelled against Ms Myeni before she and other board members have had an opportunity to respond.
The Committee reiterated that it does not have the forensic and other capacity to investigate allegations of corruption within the SAA. It urged the board and any other organisation or individuals to refer allegations of corruption to the law enforcement agencies.
At its 3 August meeting, the Committee will again require the board to report on progress on cases of corruption within the SAA.