Finance Minister Nhlanhla Nene has held an introductory meeting with the SA Airways board of directors, after National Treasury took control of the state-owned company, the finance department said on Monday.
“National Treasury is familiar with SAA and what is required to stabilise the airline’s financial position through the department’s involvement in overseeing the guarantees that have previously been provided to the company,” the department said in a statement.
“The minister and the board (including the acting CEO and CFO) have agreed that to stabilise the company’s financial position, elements of the long term strategy must be implemented with speed even as the board continues to refine and update the strategy.”
Short-term and medium-term milestones have been identified and will form part of the shareholder compact that the finance minister will sign with the board.
SAA was transferred to Treasury on December 12.
On December 11, Minister in the Presidency Jeff Radebe said National Treasury was to assume control of SAA.
“SAA will be transferred from the department of public enterprises to fall under National Treasury,” he told media in Pretoria at the time.
He said Cabinet was concerned about the performance of some state-owned companies, in particular SAA, the SA Post Office, and power utility Eskom, each of which had a critical role to play within the country’s economy.
“President [Jacob Zuma] has assigned Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa to oversee the turnaround of three state-owned companies,” Radebe said, adding that progress in this regard would be closely monitored by the presidency.
The transfer of administrative powers from public enterprises to Treasury would only be finalised by proclamation in the government gazette.
Radebe said Zuma would determine for how long Treasury would be in control of SAA.
The finance department said on Monday that transfer of administrative powers entrusted by the South African Airways Act 2007 from the ministers of finance and public enterprise was gazetted on Friday, December 19.
Section 97 of the Constitution provides that the president may transfer to a member of the Cabinet the administration of any legislation entrusted to another member or any power or function entrusted by the legislation to another member.
The department and Treasury were working with SAA on measures that would enable the airline to finalise its annual financial statements for 2013/2014 and to hold its annual general meeting within the 15-month period as stipulated by the Companies Act.
“The AGM is expected to be held early in February. At the conclusion of the AGM, the minister of finance, the chairperson of SAA and the airline management will then brief the media,” the department said. SAPA