Photo: GCIS

Just in: SAA Business Rescue plan voted in, new board to be appointed

SAA’s business rescue plan has been approved following a voting process involving the airline’s creditors, unions and the DPE.


Photo: GCIS

Financially decimated state-owned airline SAA (South African Airways) will go ahead with the the proposed business rescue plan tabled by Business Rescue Practitioners (BRPs) after SAA’s creditors, and unions associated with the company, voted in its favour on Tuesday 14 July.

This means the revised business rescue plan is approved with governments full support.

Stakeholders vote overtly in favour of SAA business rescue plan

The vote required that at least 75% of stakeholders voted in favour of the proposed plan, and on the day 86% of creditors, unions and other stakeholders cast positive votes.

The implementation of the plan is subject to proof that funding has been obtained by the Department of Public Enterprises (DPE), and the department pledged to submit a letter confirming the procurement of the required funding in time for a deadline set in the plan.

Earlier, 88% of the stakeholders had voted in favour of amendments to the plan.

The South African Airways Pilots’ Association (Saapa) and the DPE continued to butt heads during the voting process, with the latter accusing the union of trying to milk the already ailing carrier’s resources dry after submitting further demands upon accepting voluntary severance packages (VSPs) for soon-to-be retrenched employees.

Business Rescue Practitioner Siviwe Dongwana said that the vote was supported by the majority of stakeholders, both independent and non-independent. 

“We have received proxies, and 86% are in favour of the Business Rescue Plan for SAA,” he confirmed. “It is important that at this stage, in terms of the Companies Act, that in a vote called in terms of the act, the proposed plan will be approved on a preliminary basis if it is supported by 75% of creditors, which is the case,” he said. 

“The vote in support of the proposed plan included at least 50% of independent creditors that were voting. Non-independent interest is less than 1%.” 

“Without further ado, we will issue a notice to this effect” 

New board to be installed

The DPE – who are the primary stakeholder in the company on behalf of government – also announced on Tuesday that a new board will be installed at the airline in the next few days, with Phillip Saunders set to be installed as acting CEO.

Saunders, who was previously installed as the company’s Chief Commercial Officer, will assume the role following the resignation of Vuyani Jarana in June 2019, and acting CEO Zuks Ramasia departure for early retirement in April.

DPE acting director-general Kgathatso Tlhakudi said that Saunders brings a wealth of credibility to the company.

“Government in the coming days will announce an interim board for the new SAA,” he said.

“But we are pleased to announce that we will have an interim CEO in the name of Phillip Saunders, who is a very credible airline executive.”

This is a developing story