SAA Joint Rescue Practitioners Les Matuson and Siviwe Dongwana issued a statement on Wednesday to explain exactly what is going on with the business rescue process after asking for the final plan three times.
“It is the honest opinion of the business rescue practitioners that there is still a reasonable prospect of rescuing SAA, subject to the receipt of an unequivocal commitment to the process, as well as the necessary funding (from the government),” says Matuson and Dongwana’s statement.
“It will also be set out in the business rescue plan that will be published soon.”
The DA has already referred to the business rescue process as a “farce” after it had already begun on December 5, 2019 and was supposed to have a business rescue plan within 25 days.
The business rescuers explained on Wednesday that the initial deadline was “impossible” to meet.
The fact that the process started during the festive season meant that postponement was necessary.
With a final plan in hand, the pandemic and state of containment have put the whole plan on hold, say the business rescuers.
All revenue estimates and forecasts were useless in an environment where it was uncertain for how long flights would have to be halted. This is where a third postponement was requested.
The business rescuers said their plan then became to preserve the airline in such a state of containment that another airline would be left to rescue after the pandemic was brought under control. This plan involved freezing all expenses as far as possible and dismissing “all” staff. However, the government was reluctant – and the unions were not.
When the government then ordered the airline to be rescued and layoffs should not happen on such a large scale, the business rescuers tried to retrench a smaller number of people, but it also failed. In a court case on this issue, it was ruled in the Labor Court in favor of Numsa and the SAL Cabin Personnel Association (Sacca) that no retrenchments may take place until there is a final business rescue plan.
However, according to Matuson and Dongwana’s report, the biggest problem still remains that no commitment to finance the business rescue process has yet been made by the government.