747-2

The former head of South African Airways’ (SAA’s) audit and risk committee YAKHE Kwinana said there is a possibility of the liquidation or business rescue of SAA.  She resigned earlier this week as the head of the Company because she feared the damage the liquidation will do to her reputation.

 

Risks were heightened by a demand from Standard Bank to repay a R250m loan immediately and the September 6 deadline from the Hong Kong registrar of companies‚ which threatened to terminate routes to the city due to concerns about the airline’s financial sustainability. The registrar wants SAA to submit its financial statements.

 

The Company urgently needs a R5bn loan guarantee from the Treasury in order to be considered a going concern and to assure lenders of its sustainability. Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan has refused to provide a new guarantee until a new board and management are installed.

 

Director Kwinana said on Thursday that the guarantee was now extremely urgent.

 

“What was discussed in the audit committee was that the minister (Gordhan) must give us a report as to a definite answer as to whether he is giving us a guarantee or not. In the event he is giving a guarantee (we must receive it) … in the event they don’t give us the guarantee‚ then we must apply for business rescue‚” Kwinana said.

 

In the past‚ the airline had a sense of what was happening with regard to guarantees it applied for‚ she said. But this time “it seems there is no movement at all on the prospect of the guarantee“.

 

SAA chairwoman Dudu Myeni‚ who has clashed with Minister Gordhan over her plans for the airline‚ had not been able to meet him.

 

“She has been trying to get a meeting with the minister‚ but the minister is not giving her the opportunity‚” Kwinana said.

 

SAA referred all queries regarding Kwinana’s departure to the Treasury. Spokeswoman Phumza Macanda did not respond to e-mails and calls to her cellphone on Thursday.

 

“You know we cannot issue the financials without the guarantee, it is creating a huge risk,” Kwinana said.