South Africa: Blame Cabinet and Management, Not the Unions, for SAA's Death Spiral

A queue of frustrated passengers at the Port Elizabeth airport on November 15, 2019, after SAA cancelled flights.

The tailspin at South African Airways must be blamed on Cabinet ministers who have consistently appointed often politically connected, incompetent and allegedly dishonest individuals who have been given free rein by a coterie of fellow board members whose contribution appears to have been little more than that expected of useful idiots.

The grounding of SAA aircraft on 15 November 2019 after strike action will probably result in a fatal stall of SAA which has burnt through a reported R28-billion in National Treasury bailouts since 2007.

If the current acting chair of SAA is to be believed, the crisis now faced by the airline is a result of the unions, which, by their actions "are responsible for the death knell at SAA". No doubt, the SAA board will attempt to sustain this narrative in order to sufficiently muddy the water and provide the necessary cover for the real culprits of SAA's demise.

This article will attempt to remind readers as to who the miscreants really are and via headline numbers extracted from the SAA Group Annual Financial Statements (AFS) identify key problem areas, which, had they been timeously addressed, would have resulted in the avoidance of the huge recurring financial losses...

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