Six quotes from SAA on the state of the airline & looming job cuts

SAA is going through budgets line by line to make sure that 'all previous excesses are taken off the table', the airline told journalists on Tuesday.
SAA is going through budgets line by line to make sure that 'all previous excesses are taken off the table', the airline told journalists on Tuesday.
Image: SAA

SAA held a media briefing on Tuesday to clarify issues within the embattled national carrier.

Dominating the address was the possibility of job cuts at the state-owned company, in a bid to save about R700m.

Here's what SAA CEO Martin Kemp and interim CFO Deon Fredericks had to say:

Consultations with unions: Kemp

“To commence the consultations, you have to issue a notice. It doesn't prescribe that you have to have a consultation before you issue the notice. The consultations commence after the notice. As management, we arranged a meeting because we did not want to issue the statements blanketly. The consultations have now commenced after that statement was issued.”

No salary increases: Fredericks 

“Ultimately it's about cash flow and funding. If you don't have cash flow and funding, it's difficult to pay. We're in a state where if it doesn't keep the aircraft in the air, and it isn't a cost for regulatory compliance, we don't want to incur it. My staff is going through line by line to make sure that all previous excesses are taken off the table.”

Job cuts will save money: Kemp

“If you look at the 944 employees [who face retrenchments], it's estimated, depending on how the process pans out, that it will save the company about R700m. We will have this process finalised by the end of March next year.”

State capture investigations: Fredericks 

“There are various investigations that are taking place, which means we can't do anything internally. These cases have been given over to NPA and we ensure that this is being followed up on. Yes, we are not to blame, but we are fighting for survival.”

Job losses across the board: Kemp

“These retrenchments are only applicable to SAA as the company, it's not the subsidiaries. This will affect all the employees within the company from management down. Some departments to a lesser extent and others to a greater extent.”

Fares: Fredericks

“Currently in some areas we're not competitive. If you look at our fares, people ask why they're so high and its because our cost structure is so high, and this is what we're addressing as well. So if the cost structure is lower, we can provide better fares, increase sales, create more jobs and pay higher dividends to shareholders as well.”

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