South African Airways recorded losses of R5.6-billion in 2014-15, parliament heard yesterday, but board chairwoman Dudu Myeni managed to escape much of the finance committee’s ire, arriving two hours into the session.
Myeni told the committee she had not been well.
As a result, she managed to avoid answering about 100 questions posed by MPs at the meeting.
She also missed comments by the DA’s David Maynier calling her the “ground zero” of the problems at the airline and a “warlord”, and the EFF’s Floyd Shivambu, who blamed SAA’s problems on the “madness” of her decisions.
She did, however, respond to a question by Maynier, asking why she should not resign.
She said she would respond in writing in detail, but said: “I never appointed myself. The appointment of the board is a cabinet decision.”
Before her arrival, the committee heard that the figures of R4.6-billion in losses for 2014-15 released last week had been revised and now stood at R5.6-billion.
A R1.4-billion loss was recorded for 2015-16
The airline, which received a R4.7billion government bailout last week, has yet to table its financial reports for 2014-15 and 2015-16 to parliament.
Deputy Finance Minister Mcebisi Jonas told the committee SAA had not been able to complete its financials because of going-concern issues which required additional government guarantees.
The finance ministry first needed to take additional steps before issuing these, to avoid fiscal risk, he said.
But he assured the committee that the new board had met on Sunday to sign off on the results and the 2014-15 documents would be tabled tomorrow and the 2015-16 ones by the end of the month.
Committee chair Yunus Carrim said it was clear the national carrier was not a source of pride.
He said the committee would set a deadline for the board to appoint a chief executive and chief financial officer and that SAA and the Treasury, to which it reports, should report to parliament quarterly.