Parliament’s Portfolio Committee on Public Enterprises says the conclusion of the South African Express (SAX) airline liquidation process can serve as a lesson on how the state should manage public entities (PEs) and avoid future closures.
The local airline, which focused on flights to smaller towns in South Africa, has been in provisional liquidation since April 2020. In January this year, the return date for a final liquidation request was extended until to July 4, to see if a proper agreement can be reached to sell the airline. SAX currently has liabilities of over R900 million.
Concluding a meeting with SAX’s liquidators, the portfolio committee welcomed the progress made, but regretted the loss of the public company, as it enabled regional integration and was essential for the growth of tourism receiver in the region.
“The committee remains of the view that the management of state enterprises should be streamlined to ensure that they play an effective development role. With this in mind, the committee has called for better oversight by the Department of Public Enterprises to ensure that some of the challenges are identified and addressed before it is too late,” he said.
The committee added that it hopes the newly created “state-owned presidential council” will chart a new course for these entities, as they remain critical to South Africa’s development.
“With regard to the liquidation, the committee is aware that the process is market-driven and that while one of its main concerns is the welfare of the airline’s employees, little can be done about it. stadium.
“Nevertheless, the committee urged the liquidators and the department to give preference to bidders for SAX’s assets over those who intend to use its former human resources. The committee welcomed assurances that SAX employees can access the benefits of the UIF.
News24 reports that the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (Numsa) and the South African Cabin Crew Association have now turned to the South African Human Rights Commission in their latest attempt to help employees who do not have not received a salary since the airline went into provisional liquidation.
Last year, Numsa approached the Constitutional Court in a bid to force parliament to decide whether a public company like SAX can be allowed to become insolvent. Numsa asked the Constitutional Court to rule that parliament should hold public hearings in this regard.
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