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IFP CALLS ON WORKERS AT SAA TO DO WHAT IS RIGHT FOR OUR COUNTRY

 

Inkosi Mzamo Buthelezi MP
IFP Spokesperson on Public Enterprises

 

The IFP fully supports the rights of workers to strike in ensuring that their labour grievances are heard, however, we urge all workers to do what is right for our country, and to act patriotically by returning to work, as we can ill-afford the total collapse of South African Airways (SAA).

It is unfortunate that workers wage concerns have to be set aside to save SAA, because top level management, the board and the Department of Public Enterprises have failed to root out corruption.

Our economy and our country right now can ill-afford another blow to the public purse.

We call on all stakeholders in particular the leadership of the National Union of Mineworkers of South Africa (Numsa) to go back to the drawing board, and to find an amicable solution as swiftly as possible.

Furthermore, we call on Public Enterprises Minister, Pravin Gordhan to intervene by playing an intermediary role in order to get a settlement agreement and to negotiate a deal that would accommodate workers’ demands sufficiently with SAA’s budgetary constraints in mind.

This matter can only be settled around the boardroom table, not on the streets and certainly not through the grounding of flights. There is no avoiding the inevitable; and that is the restructuring of SAA.

To halt all operations at the airline appears to be yet another case of an SOE trying to squeeze out more money from National Treasury for ‘urgent relief’.

For far too long has treasury opened up the public’s kitty in trying to solve the crisis of poor leadership instead of acting against those who have emptied the coffers for their personal gain.

It is clear now, more than ever, that the failure of government and the Department of Public Enterprises to have rooted out corrupt officials, appoint a competent non-politically aligned board at the helm of SAA and their indecision and government’s choice to ignore calls for a public-private partnership agreement, is coming back to bite it.

This strike action comes at a time that all South Africans have been urged to bite the bullet of austerity. It certainly does not instill any confidence that our country’s leadership is serious in its attempts to reform our ailing SOEs and improve our economic standing.

The IFP have long held that SAA’s reliance on state resources should be limited and phased out into a more sustainable cost model through a public-private partnership agreement in order for it to become globally competitive, drive down costs and to restore service excellence.

SAA would only be in a better position to provide more competitive salaries and offer due increases when its books are able to balance and its leadership and management is sharply focused on turning the airline into a market leader in the aviation industry.

Contact:
Inkosi Mzamo Buthelezi MP
IFP Spokesperson on Public Enterprises
072 390 6112