Solidarity today met with the newly appointed business rescue practitioner for SAA, Les Matuson, as well as with the SAA board’s attorneys.
This follows the board’s resolution to place SAA in business rescue, taken on Thursday following the continued pressure Solidarity has brought to bear. Solidarity was, however, not content with the process of appointing a business rescue practitioner without having consulted labour.
“We think it is of critical importance that all stakeholders are consulted in the business rescue process – and as far as this matter is concerned, we engaged positively with Mr Matuson. Labour will play a critical role in the turnaround, a principle Mr Matuson wholeheartedly agrees with,” Dirk Hermann, Solidarity COO said.
“As Solidarity we requested that Mr Matuson consider appointing a second business rescue practitioner given the scale and uniqueness of a state-owned entity being placed in business rescue. In so doing, capacity will not be a constraining factor,” Hermann continued.
Aviation expertise is absolutely key to achieving a successful turnaround, and in this regard Solidarity welcomed the suggestion that, where possible, aviation experts, especially distressed aviation experts, be engaged to help with the turnaround. This suggestion was received well, and it was agreed that open channels of communication should exist between Solidarity and Mr Matuson as the process unfolds.
“During a frank discussion Solidarity and the practitioner agreed that Cloete Murray – the business rescue practitioner Solidarity initially suggested – will be involved in the process, possibly as the independent chairperson of the employee committee. Mr Matuson also assured Solidarity that he (Mr Matuson) will engage with former SAA CEO Mr Jarana as soon as possible to see in what respect he could be of assistance in the process,” Hermann stated.
“Solidarity has already done significant groundwork as part of our own business rescue application, and as such, we have offered to help Mr Matuson as far as possible in the endeavours that will ensue. It includes access to our technical expertise as well as the experts we have consulted,” Hermann elaborated.
“The independence of the business rescue practitioner is of critical importance. We have seen the results of government’s interference in the running of the airline. Solidarity was given the assurance that Mr Matuson is totally independent and that he would be prepared to take whatever steps he deems necessary to achieve a turnaround, independent of government. Solidarity will keep a close eye on the process to ensure there is no government interference,” Hermann concluded.