SA Express Airline Provisionally Liquidated, Nearly 700 Jobs could be Lost

Sourced from Event Africa

State-owned regional airline SA Express has been placed in provisional liquidation after its business rescue practitioners filed an urgent court application, reports Fin24.

This comes after practitioners lodged the application in the Pretoria High Court on 25 March.

Last month, the airline was placed on business rescue due to the financial pressures that resulted from years of mismanagement and state capture, the department says. The application to place it into business rescue was brought by ZieglerSA, a service provider to the airline.

The business rescue practitioners claim that the government had deliberately withheld financial support of about $18-million (R350-million) from the Department of Public Enterprises.

At the time of the application for liquidation, the DPE had indicated that it would determine its course of action after studying the liquidation application.

SA Express employees continue to struggle

In March, the airline cited in a letter penned by the business rescue practitioners that the “adverse operational challenges” and the adverse impact of COVID-19 on passenger demand as for why they were not able to their employees their salaries due on 25 March. The airline then advised employees to contact their banks.

Again in April, SA Express sought financial support to pay the salaries of its employees. Seeking aid from the temporary COVID-19 Unemployment Insurance Fund or the Temporary Employer/Employee Relief Scheme, overseen by the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation, and Arbitration (CCMA).

“This is so frustrating and depressing. We feel there is a lack of formal communication with us. First, it was the March salary and not April’s. How must we live?” said airline employee on condition of anonymity.

Since then, SA Express employees have banded together and began a crowdfunding campaign on WhatsApp in order to aid their most vulnerable and struggling colleagues. Now with the complete liquidation of the company seemingly looming, SA Express’ employees are looking at losing their jobs. The company employs nearly 700 people.

Edited by Luis Monzon

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