Taxpayers will have to cough up for SAA crisis, says Jonathan Jansen

SAA has cancelled nearly all its domestic, regional and international flights for the weekend.
SAA has cancelled nearly all its domestic, regional and international flights for the weekend.
Image: Getty Images

Whatever the outcome of the crisis at SAA, “the taxpayer will have to cough up”, says Prof Jonathan Jansen.

As the airline gears up for a crippling strike on Friday, Jansen painted a dire picture on the state of the carrier. He added that the taxpayer would ultimately be burdened.

“Financially, SAA is on its knees, with debt exceeding R20bn. Unions demand a pay increase regardless, 8% across the board. Whatever the outcome, you the taxpayer will have to cough up. Who is in the wrong?," he wrote on Twitter.

SAA board member Mark Kingston told the parliamentary standing committee on public accounts (Scopa) on Wednesday that the strike could cost the airline R50m a day.

The airline announced a possibility of job cuts this week, in a bid to save about R700m. On Monday, it said it had told 5,146 employees it was embarking on a restructuring process that could lead to job losses.

As workers threatened to down tools, the National Union of Metalworkers of SA (Numsa) and the SA Cabin Crew Association (Sacca) on Wednesday served SAA and SAA Technical (Saat) with a 48-hour notice to strike.

The airline has cancelled nearly all its domestic, regional and international flights scheduled for Friday and Saturday in anticipation of the strike.

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