NEWS & ANALYSIS

SAA's decision to suspend senior executives welcomed – NUMSA

Financial problems of airline were caused by rampant looting of the SOE by senior managers

NUMSA welcomes SAA's decision to suspend senior executives

13 March 2018

The National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (NUMSA) welcomes the decision of the new South African Airways (SAA) board to comply with the Labour court’s order to investigate senior executives implicated in corruption at the airline. Last year the court ordered that investigations conducted by Open Water, Ernst & Young and ENS should be extended to include investigations into senior executives at SAA. The Labour court also ordered that if these senior managers are implicated in corruption they must be suspended from their duties.

On Monday SAA announced that it was taking disciplinary action against the CEO of SAA Technical (in his capacity as acting CEO of SAA), Mr. Musa Zwane and the SAA CFO Ms. Phumeza Nhantsi. The airline has replaced Zwane with Nona Sonjani and Mr. Wellington Nyuswa will be the Acting CFO.

NUMSA is vindicated by this decision. We have consistently said that the financial problems of the airline were caused by rampant looting of the SOE by senior managers. We were forced to defend this matter at the labour court because the former SAA board refused to take action against those accused of corruption despite damning allegations which were revealed by some of the reports. The airline ignored the court’s ruling, and even wasted tax payer’s money in a futile attempt to appeal this decision. They also responded by threatening the union with legal action, and continued to victimize our members for demanding accountability.

But our members remained resolute and were unmoved by the airlines attempts to victimize and frustrate them. We want to thank them for their courage and discipline that they displayed despite the harassment they received from some senior managers.

Furthermore the Labour court ordered that NUMSA can make representations during any disciplinary process which these managers may be subjected to. We look forward to participating in these processes in the hope that we can get justice on behalf of our members.

We call on SAA to root out corruption in all areas of SAA, and that it must not just focus on those mentioned in the reports. Also SAA’s turnaround strategy cannot include retrenchments and job losses. If it wasn’t for the courage of the workers at SAA the extent of the corruption at the airline may never have been revealed. SAA should punish the looters and not workers and their families.

NUMSA has demonstrated once again that it is fearless and will do all it can to fight on behalf of its members. We want to thank our hard working shop stewards and officials who work day and night to fight to improve the basic working and living conditions of the working class and their families. NUMSA is proving once again that it is truly a militant workers union. We are not just militant on the streets, but we will use all the weapons at our disposal to fight for the working class in South Africa.

Aluta continua!

The Struggle continues!

Issued by Phakamile Hlubi-Majola, Acting National Spokesperson, NUMSA, 13 March 2018