With one voice, ANC, Cosatu, SACP say: don't cancel SAA domestic routes
The ANC, SACP and Cosatu have come out to support President Cyril Ramaphosa’s opposition to the shutting down of SAA's domestic routes and have rejected minister Gwede Mantashe’s comments that the state-owned airline must be shut down.
On Tuesday, the secretariat of the alliance met at the ANC’s headquarters, Luthuli House, to come up with one voice on the matter.
“The alliance maintains that SAA must be turned around to thrive, kept as the national carrier and serve as the mainstay of our domestic aviation industry, with successful regional, continental and international routes. The alliance secretariat placed emphasis on ensuring that the rights of workers are fully protected throughout the process,” ANC spokesperson Pule Mabe said.
Before departing for Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, on Friday, Ramaphosa said he did not agree with the decision made by the business rescue practitioner to shut down all domestic routes of SAA besides Johannesburg to Cape Town.
“Government is not in agreement with the business rescue practitioners (BRPs) about the decision to cancel certain flights. We as government are saying we need to sit down with the BRPs and discuss the matter.”
A day later, Mantashe - who is the chairperson of the ANC - said the airline should be sold as it was servicing only the elite.
“You can give SAA to anyone to run it … it is not flying the working class. The only ones who are ferrying the working class are the buses and the taxis. If we were giving this money to the buses, taxis and trains, you would have a case,” he said.
The SACP condemned Mantashe’s comments as disgraceful.
In a unified approach, the ANC-led alliance said it supported Ramaphosa’s view on the matter.
“The meeting expressed unequivocal support for the statement made by the president disapproving of the cuts announced by business rescue practitioners of all SAA domestic routes but one, Johannesburg and Cape Town. Confidence in SAA will be lost in the international market as a result of almost all its domestic routes being cut,” Mabe said.
He said there would be more adverse implications for SAA, “given that it is a network carrier, rather than a point-to-point carrier”.
“SAA is owned by the state on behalf of the people. The business rescue practitioners have an obligation to present a turnaround strategy to government as the shareholder for consideration. In addition, the business rescue process must be inclusive and anchored on national development imperatives,” Mabe said.