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Grounded SA Express scrambling to pay June salaries

Jun 19 2018 06:13
Lameez Omarjee

Cape Town - SA Express might not be able to pay its staff on June 25, the Federation of Unions of South Africa said.

The federation issued a statement on Monday, indicating that acting CEO Matsietsi Mokholo had informed staff that salaries might not be paid later this month.

Fedusa said it would appeal to Public Enterprise Minister Pravin Gordhan to provide emergency funding for the salaries.

Cash-strapped SA Express was recently grounded by the South African Civil Aviation Authority (Sacaa) due to non-compliance with 17 findings related to safety management processes. Sacaa spokesperson Kabelo Ledwaba previously told Fin24 that it would assist the airline in reapplying for certification but the process could be lengthy.

SA Express spokesperson Refilwe Masemola in a written response to Fin24’s query confirmed that because the airline was unable to fly passengers it could not generate revenue.

“The airline can confirm continuous engagements between labour and employees, where management sensitised the concerned parties to the challenges facing the airline as well as the potential risks pertaining to the payment of salaries for the month of June,” she said.

Masemola added that both the airline’s management and board were “tirelessly” exploring various alternatives to ensure the payment of staff salaries on June 25.

Fedusa general secretary Dennis George believes that the situation the airline is facing is not “unfixable”.

In the Fedusa statement, he asked Gordhan to intervene in the matter.

“We must also emphasise that the government as shareholder is duly accountable and has actually made itself guilty of being an absent landlord, allowing for mediocrity in governance to exist and thrive.

“We beseech your office honourable minister, to act with haste and decisiveness in this crisis and ensure that at the very least, staff is paid,” said George.

However the Department of Public Enterprise (DPE) could not yet confirm to Fin24 that it had received a request from Fedusa to intervene on the matter.

At a briefing in May Gordhan announced sweeping changes at boards of various public entities, SA Express included. "SA Express has been in dire straits for some time, it is an indication of the malfeasance at SA Express."

He said that SA Express had found itself in a struggling position due to a lack of good governance.

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sacaa  |  sa express  |  matsietsi mokholo  |  aviation  |  airlines


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