Opposition MPs want SAA placed under business rescue

File: SAA has accumulated unsustainable levels of debt.

File: SAA has accumulated unsustainable levels of debt.

AFP/Michele Spatari

CAPE TOWN - It’s time to bite the bullet and seek a private equity partner for SAA.

Debating the recent strike action in the National Assembly on Tuesday, several opposition parties called on government to place the airline under business rescue.

“Instead of bailing out SAA, SAA should be bailing out South Africans," said the IFP's Mkhuleko Hlengwa.

READ: Scopa still waiting for SAA's financial statements

MPs argued SAA is trading recklessly. 

Parties also took a dim view of the recent industrial action. 

DA MP Alf Lees said: "Who in their right mind demands any salary increase from a bankrupt employer."

READ: SAA increases will cause more debt: aviation expert

Steve Swart from the ACDP added: "Numsa's own members are poorer after the strike, costing the workers eight days in unpaid wages in a strike that never should have occurred."

EFF representatives disagreed. Nazier Paulsen said it is correct for workers to unite and fight against retrenchments.

"The failures of SAA can't be blamed on ordinary workers," said Paulsen.

While SAA's management is battling to pay its bills, it still has to return to Parliament's Standing Committee on Public Accounts to offer a plan of action for submitting outstanding financial statements, which it has not done for the past two years.