Minister of Public Enterprises Pravin Gordhan says that South African Airways will not make its finances publically available over fears that the company would be immediately liquidated, the City Press reports.
Presenting in parliament this week, Gordhan said that government was in ‘unknown territory’ after the airline became the first state-owned enterprise to be placed under business rescue in December 2019.
In response, parliament said that it understands the consequences related to premature exposure of the annual financial statements, but stressed that it was important to understand what had led to SAA’s current financial woes.
“The lack of financial statements has put the joint committee in the dark, as for the past two years the last financial statements to be tabled by SAA were in 2016/17,” it said.
The committee said that it will set a date after March 6, 2020 – the end of the three months’ period that the business rescue practitioners require for establishing the plan and presenting it to the creditors – to request the business rescue practitioners to appear and answer to all the issues that are outstanding where SAA is concerned.
ANC ready to intervene
The ANC has said that it will step in and intervene in SAA’s business rescue if it believes that the business rescue practitioners are making decisions that go against its goals for the airline.
ANC treasurer-general Paul Mashatile said that, as the main shareholder, the government has the right to protect its assets.
“The business rescue practitioners do not own SAA, we do. The day they do something we think is not in line with what we want, we will intervene because we appointed them,” Mashatile said.
Similar sentiments were expressed by ANC secretary-general, Ace Magashule.
Magashule said it was the intent of the ANC and its alliance partners to retain SAA at all costs. The party’s critical stance comes after SAA shut down all domestic routes in the country, except for the Johannesburg-Cape Town route.
It sees areas such as KwaZulu Natal and the Eastern Cape as major growth areas for the country and says that they cannot simply be shut out this way.