SAA paid R1.1bn to Swissport without a contract, says supply chain manager

Deputy chief justice Raymond Zondo was shocked by revelations that more than R1bn was paid to Swissport by SAA without a signed contract.
Deputy chief justice Raymond Zondo was shocked by revelations that more than R1bn was paid to Swissport by SAA without a signed contract.
Image: Gallo Images / Sowetan / Thulani Mbele

The Zondo commission on Thursday heard how troubled national airline SAA paid R1.1bn to Swissport for services rendered since 2012 without a signed contract.

This revelation was made by acting head of supply chain management at the airline, Schalk Hendrik Human, who was giving testimony at the commission.

The tender was awarded to Swissport in 2012 for five years, but though no binding contract was signed, SAA continued to pay the Chinese-owned company headquartered in Switzerland for ground-handling services.

More shocking is that after Swissport continued providing services without a contract from 2012 until the end of 2015, a new contract was signed in March 2016 based on the 2012 agreement but for a further five years, that would now run until next year.

“This is very strange,” commission chair Raymond Zondo said, visibly shocked. 

Zondo recited Human's evidence: “Bids were invited in 2012 and the tender was awarded to Swissport but no contract was signed, but they rendered services and they were paid as if there is a contract.

“And then in 2016, a contract was signed without a new tender process and it was signed on the basis that it was the contract that should have been signed in 2012 but it was provided for a further five years.

“So they [Swissport] will end up getting 1-point-something-billion-rand, times two.”

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