SAA makes major route cutsBack to Forum
SAA have said they will resume CPT JNB services in June, but the whole murky business becomes murkier with each pronouncement :
Confusion at SAA as business rescue practitioners say flights might not resume next month
May 27 2020 08:27 Jan Cronje
The business rescue practitioners of flag carrier SAA have hit out at the airline for publishing an “unvetted” statement saying some passenger flights will resume next month.
SAA published a statement on its website on Monday saying it is retaining its current domestic schedule between Johannesburg and Cape Town from mid-June under level 3 of the lockdown.
“Everyone at SAA is looking forward to welcoming and serving our customers once again,” said Philip Saunders, SAA’s Chief Commercial Officer, in Monday’s statement.
SAA was placed into business rescue in December 2019, and all media statements have to be approved by the practitioners.
On Wednesday morning the BRPs, Les Matuson and Siviwe Dongwana, said the statement had not been authorised by them.
“The flysaa statement was released in violation of the BRPs communications protocol which was put in place so that unvetted releases are not issued.
“The position around the cessation of flights remains as is until SAA has a better sense of what the level 3 lock down means in terms of domestic air travel. The airline also needs to consider what the opening of the skies will mean from a commercial and load factor perspective. SAA’s future funding also remains a key variable in all of the above considerations.”
“It is unfortunate that the unvetted press statement created an unfair expectation on our relevant stakeholders, including SAA’s customers as well as employees, who are on unpaid absence as a result of the travel ban which led to the halting of the company’s operations and compounded its financial distress. “
The GDS shows SAA and Mango flights starting on 01JUN as well as SAA JNB LHR27 May 2020
From today’s Times
Zuma crony Dudu Myeni banned for life over gross negligence running South Africa’s national airline
Jane Flanagan, Cape Town
Friday May 29 2020, 12.01am, The Times
Dudu Myeni had no experience but was the president’s friend
The former chairwoman of South Africa’s bankrupt national airline has become the first person to be censured over links to the biggest political scandal of the post-apartheid era.
Dudu Myeni, 56, was declared a delinquent director and banned for life from holding any further directorships by a high court judge who labelled her “dishonest . . . and grossly negligent” during her four years at the airline, which is now in receivership.
The ruling at the high court in Pretoria ended a five-year legal battle brought against Ms Myeni by an anti-corruption organisation and the airline’s pilots’ association. During Jacob Zuma’s nine-year presidency, South African Airways (SAA) was at the centre of widespread claims of corruption at state-owned companies — a scourge that became known as “state capture”.
President Ramaphosa, who succeeded Mr Zuma in 2018, has initiated several inquiries but no prosecutions have been brought yet by the state, much to the frustration of South Africans.
“She was a director gone rogue,” Judge Ronel Tolmay said in her ruling. “She did not have the slightest consideration for her fiduciary duty to SAA. Her actions caused SAA and the country immense harm.”
The once-proud flag carrier for a young democracy, SAA’s decline accelerated during Ms Myeni’s time as chairwoman until 2017. Despite having no previous relevant experience, she was appointed to the position by her close friend, Mr Zuma. The airline has been given about £1.6 billion in state bailouts to stay afloat and was placed in a local form of bankruptcy protection at the end of last year.
The court’s judgment and the damning evidence heard will now be handed to the national prosecution authority, according to the Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse, which brought the case with the pilots. Ms Myeni was ordered to pay all legal costs.
“It is important to hold people like Ms Myeni to account, as opposed to seeing them get away with acts of gross misconduct, year after year,” Stephanie Fick, the organisation’s chief legal officer, said. “Imagine what could have been done with the endless amounts of taxes lost in her tenure to alleviate poverty and advance democracy.”
The case against Ms Myeni, who denied any wrongdoing, focused on two incidents from 2015 with testimony from four former SAA executives: the collapse of a route-sharing agreement with Emirates Airline that would have earned about £80 million a year, and the failure to conclude a plane-swap deal with the manufacturer Airbus. The court was told that Ms Myeni posted armed guards at meetings to remove those who disagreed with her and used her relationship with Mr Zuma to wield power.
William Gumede, an expert on governance, said the private action against Ms Myeni demonstrated a “lack of political will” to bring the politically connected to justice. “It is a scandal that it has to be individuals and civil society that is driving these processes,” he said. “But at least we have a justice system that is playing its role effectively.”29 May 2020
Struggling SAA can be saved but more money is needed, say business rescue practitioners.
The committee was told that SAA had R1.2 billion cash in the bank. Of that, R600 million is ringfenced and relates to an unflown ticket liability.
“Of the people who already booked flights via SAA, via Airlink and via SA Express, the monies get ringfenced before they fly so that if refunds are requested – the airline is able to pay back,” Nkasana explained.
“The airline has R600 million in the bank, but R1 billion in liabilities.” About R580 million is owed for the leasing of planes for April, and R500 million owed to other creditors, he said.
D-Day looms for SA Express unless last-minute ‘miracle’ saves it, MPs hear29 May 2020
The rules for domestic air travel are out – and only four airports will reopen on Monday
Business Insider SA
May 30, 2020, 09:51 AM
Domestic air travel for anything other than leisure is legal again from Monday, under Alert Level 3 rules.
But regulations published on Saturday morning say only four airports will open for business, in Johannesburg, Cape Town, and Durban.
Several other airports have been on standby throughout lockdown for emergencies, but passenger travel will not be allowed between them.
You’ll only be able to fly for specific purposes, and you’ll need paperwork to prove the reason.
It is not clear who will decide if your business trip is really necessary, though.30 May 2020
Interesting link to the judgement in the Dudu Myeni trial indicating how comically inept she was. Including funny but false accusations of how Nico Bezedenhuit recorded their meetings with an e-cigarette.1 Jun 2020
In a world where truth is often hidden by perception-forming narrative, court judgements are a welcome respite. Especially ones like Mr Justice RG Tolmay’s 114 page judgement delivered last week, that ensures former SAA chair Dudu Myeni will never again participate as a director in a boardroom, either in the private or public sector.
Myeni and her close friend Jacob Zuma should be grateful that few of their countrymen read such judgements. Because it unpacks with great clarity how the duo’s corruption at SAA was so obvious, their actions so callous, and damage caused to SAA (and the nation) so massive, these wrecking balls literally cost taxpayers billions.
In short, Myeni’s unrequited attempt to elicit a R10m bribe from Emirates kaibosched a code-sharing deal between SAA and the world’s biggest airline that lost SAA hundreds of millions a year in profit and has pushed it to the brink of collapse. Had the deal gone through, Judge Tolmay concluded, SAA may well have been strong enough to have weathered the current Covid-19 crisis.
Myeni also illegally attempted to extract billions via a front company (fraudulently using Nedbank letterheads) which SA Treasury’s Avril Halstead testified “would have had a catastrophic domino effect on other SOEs and the economy.” When Myeni couldn’t persuade Finance Minister Nhalnhla Nene to support her scam, pal Zuma replaced him with “weekend special” Des van Rooyen, sparking the Nenegate crisis.
So almost five years after the case began, we now know the depth of the Myeni/Zuma greed and their ignorant arrogance.
The question now is why are they still walking free?
Of course we all know the answer to that one.
SAA set for R21bn bailout – Full draft business rescue plan
1st June 2020 by Editor
By Paul Vecchiatto and Loni Prinsloo
(Bloomberg) – South Africa’s government provisionally agreed to allocate at least R21bn ($1.2bn) to the country’s embattled national airline to help repay debt and resume operations after the lifting of Covid-19 travel bans.
The proposed package includes about R17bn that will go toward repaying South African Airways creditors, according to a draft copy of a rescue plan prepared by administrators and seen by Bloomberg. As much as R2bn will go toward retrenchments and a further R2bn will be provided for working capital.
“It would be irresponsible to comment on the draft plan which was leaked to the media,” a spokeswoman for the administrators said. “It is for discussions purposes only and we await comment from the affected persons.”
South Africa’s Public Enterprises Ministry, which is responsible for SAA, has not yet discussed the draft plan, spokesman Sam Mkokeli said by phone.
While the funding agreement has yet to be finalised, a deal of this nature would bring to an end an impasse between the government and SAA’s business-rescue team over the airline’s future. The administrators, appointed in December, had an earlier request for state funding rejected in April, and subsequently proposed firing the entire workforce to stave off liquidation.
Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan strongly objected to that plan, and announced his ambitions for the creation of a new airline at the start of the month, kicking off a fresh round of talks.
SAA’s commercial passenger planes have been grounded since late March, when the government closed borders for non-urgent travel to contain the coronavirus. Some domestic flights are being allowed to operate as of Monday for business purposes, though SAA had previously reduced its local services to a single Johannesburg-Cape Town route.
Here’s a link to a fine piece of fiction / imaginative thinking :
1. THIS IS A DRAFT BUSINESS RESCUE PLAN, BASED ON A RESTRUCTURED SAA PROPOSAL,
WHICH IS STILL IN THE PROCESS OF BEING SUPPLEMENTED WITH FURTHER INFORMATION
(INDICATED IN THE BODY OF THIS DOCUMENT WITH DRAFTING NOTES) AND WHICH IS
ALSO SUBJECT TO CONSULTATION.
2. IN PARTICULAR, THE BRPs:
2.1. ARE IN THE PROCESS OF OBTAINING VALUATIONS OF THE COMPANY’S ASSETS,
WHICH WILL BE INSERTED AND ATTACHED TO THIS DOCUMENT.
2.2. WILL PROVIDE FURTHER INFORMATION IN THIS DOCUMENT DETAILING THE
RESTARTING OF THE AIRLINE PURSUANT TO THE OUTBREAK OF COVID-19.
2.3. WILL PROVIDE THE COMPLETE LIST OF ANNEXURES TO THIS DOCUMENT AT A
3. THIS DRAFT BUSINESS RESCUE PLAN IS FOR DISCUSSION PURPOSES AND MAY NOT BE
CIRCULATED TO ANY OTHER PARTY.1 Jun 2020
Sounds like the bunsen burner has been turned up under the backsides of the BRPs who have been paid R30m so far.1 Jun 2020
ZA taxpayers are about to dish out another R20 billion (minimum!) so that the ANC can have its own private air taxi service to serve its vanity and backside lickers, and another trough for it to stick its collective snout into. It’s mostly ‘whitey’ money so who cares? The ANC certainly don’t.
Maybe they’ll even find another Miss Management like Dodo Myeni to run it. That would be the cherry on the cake.
Draft plan indicates restructured SAA would lose R20bn in first three years
https://www.flightglobal.com/airlines/draft-plan-indicates-restructured-saa-would-lose-r20bn-in-first-three-years/138623.article2 Jun 2020
That sounds quite good…a loss of R20b in the first three years! Much less than SAA have lost in the last three years. R20B will buy 3 or 4 very nice properties in Monte Carlo…..2 Jun 2020
That sounds quite good…a loss of R20b in the first three years! Much less than SAA have lost in the last three years. R20B will buy 3 or 4 very nice properties in Monte Carlo…..
Based on today’s value of the Rand, I think you meant a lot more than 3 or 4 – maybe 100.2 Jun 2020
Airlink to restart domestic flights next week.2 Jun 2020
Airlink is privately owned and not part of the SAA/SA Express/Mango mess. Its only connection with SAA is code-sharing and franchise operations and using SAA’s distribution and ticketing platform.
Airlink is owed a substantial sum of money for revenue that SAA has failed to pass on, money which is no doubt sitting in somebody’s (choose your own tax haven name) bank account or converted into a flat in a sunny place for shady people, e.g. Monaco as mentioned earlier.
Airlink is/was a good airline, I hope they are not flown into the ground in the same way as SAA/SAX has been.
1 user thanked author for this post.2 Jun 2020