28 January 2013

South Africa: SAA Must Donate Food to Children in Need

press release

The DA will be requesting that the executives of Air Chefs, a division of SAA, appear before Parliament to account for the wastage of R5 million of food per month as reported in the media.

Such wastage in a country where an estimated 3.8 million children go to bed hungry every night is inexcusable. Surely this food could have been donated to institutions and charities that help feed our children?

SAA spokesperson Tlali Tlali has been reported in the media as saying that disciplinary action had already been instituted against a number of employees at Air Chefs. The DA welcomes this announcement and intends to ensure that all individuals guilty of wasting public funds are held accountable.

But SAA must do more than this. It must immediately set out its plans to ensure that all surplus food fit for human consumption is channelled to children who are in need.

I have written to the chairperson of the Portfolio Committee on Public Enterprises, Mr Holmes Maluleka, to request that Air Chefs CEO, Alison Crooks, CFO Michael Muller, as well as Minister Gigaba appear before the committee to report back to Parliament on the steps it will take to ensure that surplus food is not wasted.

The bottom line is that SAA will continue to waste public resources - including food - as long as government stands by ready to bail it out whenever it runs out of money. There is simply no incentive for SAA to spend money prudently as it is currently structured.

The DA has repeatedly called on the government to privatise SAA. If it is to become profitable and efficient, the national carrier must be made to fly solo.

Natasha Michael, Shadow Minister of Public Enterprises

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