Scopa to summon SA Express liquidators and BRPs after no-show

Scopa wants to be briefed by the liquidators and business rescue practitioners of SA Express.
Scopa wants to be briefed by the liquidators and business rescue practitioners of SA Express.

Parliament's standing committee on public accounts (Scopa) has resolved to summons the liquidators and business rescue practitioners (BRPs) of SA Express after they snubbed their meeting on Tuesday.

The liquidators and BRPs were due to brief MPs on the provisional liquidation processes of SA Express, which started in April, but they were a no-show during a virtual Scopa meeting.

Their failure to appear before parliament coincided with a decision by the high court on Tuesday to grant an application to extend the provisional liquidation of the airline by another three months.

The high court granted the extension after it was asked by the provisional liquidators of SA Express to delay the final closure of the state-owned airline by three months to buy them more time to investigate its affairs and finalise a possible rescue plan.

MPs were not impressed with their failure to appear before parliament, saying they displayed “an allergy” to parliamentary oversight while they were raking in millions of rand in fees while SA Express employees remained in limbo and without salaries.

The criticism came after it emerged on Monday that the BRPs for SA Airways (SAA), Les Matuson and Siviwe Dongwana, had earned just over R36m since their appointment six months ago to provide a business rescue strategy for the ailing national airline.

IFP MP Mkhuleko Hlengwa, who is also the chairperson of Scopa, said his committee had unanimously agreed to subpoena SA Express' provisional liquidators, led by Aviwe Ndyamara, and SAA's business rescue practitioners.

“The same process will have to apply insofar as SAA's business rescue practitioners are concerned because, colleagues, up to now, we have not yet received the information we required.

“We're going to engage in a two-pronged process, which is to subpoena the liquidators on the one hand and the business rescue practitioners on the other hand,” Hlengwa said.

He said the fact that the liquidators had been granted an extension of their mandate by the high court did not mean parliament would stop holding them accountable.

“They are obliged to report to parliament. We're not going to suspend our parliamentary obligations and responsibilities. We reserve our right to subpoena.

“The kind of behaviour we are seeing does not inspire confidence from where I am seated. They are gambling with the sustainable livelihoods of workers on the one hand, and testing the already fragile SA economy on the other,” Hlengwa said.

“This kind of behaviour is unacceptable. It's unprofessional. The fact that we find ourselves in this situation again today is indicative of people who have an allergy to oversight and accountability.”

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