It is alleged that SAA's general manager of legal services, Fikile Thabethe, has indicated that the legal opinion given to the board of SAA regarding alleged contraventions of the Public Finance Management Act by then acting CEO Vuyisile Kona was not authentic, and has thus misled the board. These allegations have surfaced just days after claims that SAA's security services had spied on Kona.
The allegation of tampering with the legal opinion fuels the fire of uncertainty that already surrounds the suspension of Mr Kona. The DA has twice called for clarity regarding the issue. It is now time for Public Enterprises Minister Malusi Gigaba to take action and appoint a task team to investigate the numerous allegations of irregularities at the airline.
SAA appeared before the Public Enterprises parliamentary portfolio committee on Tuesday. During that meeting the DA requested clarity on the reasons for Mr Kona's suspension. 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.
Neither the airline nor the Department of Public Enterprises has provided any clarity on the latest allegations, continuing the trend of shrouding issues of national importance at SAA in a veil of secrecy.
We therefore 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.
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.
Natasha Michael, Shadow Minister of Public Enterprises