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Gigaba must investigate SAA, says DA

Feb 24 2013 14:00 Sapa

Last month, the national carrier reportedly received a R550m bank \facility\ to cover fuel and other short-term commitments. (Picture: Shutterstock)

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Johannesburg - Public Enterprises Minister Malusi Gigaba should appoint a task team to investigate the numerous allegations of irregularities at the SA Airways (SAA), the DA said on Sunday.

"We call on Minister Gigaba to appoint a task team to urgently investigate the alleged irregularities at SAA, and any related matters that are impeding the airline's functioning, and report back to Parliament on its findings," Democratic Alliance MPL Natasha Michael said.

"The airline's survival has for far too long depended on billions of rands of government bailouts. South Africans have a right to know what is going on with the national carrier, since it is their money that is keeping it afloat."

The Sunday Times reported that an allegedly doctored legal opinion by SAA's general manager of legal services Fikile Thabethe led to the suspension of SAA's acting CEO Vuyisile Kona.

According to the report, the validity of the document was discussed at an SAA board meeting on Friday, just days after claims surfaced that the security services had spied on Kona.

Kona was suspended last week, for among others things, allegedly contravening the Public Finance Management Act when he appointed three senior consultants.

SAA spokesperson Tlali Tlali told the newspaper Kona's suspension fell within the normal employer-employee relationship.

Michael said the allegation that Thabethe's legal opinion had been tampered with "fuels the fire of uncertainty" about Kona's suspension.

"The DA has twice called for clarity regarding the issue," she said.

The DA had asked for clarity about Kona's suspension when the SAA appeared before the public enterprises parliamentary portfolio committee on Tuesday.

"The board indicated that the matter was under investigation and that no information could be given. This was a missed opportunity for the general manager of legal services to raise concerns regarding the authenticity of her legal opinion," Michael said. 

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democratic alliance  |  saa  |  malusi gigaba


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