11/04/2018 13:03 SAST | Updated 11/04/2018 13:03 SAST

SAA Staff Face Suspension Over Botched Tenders

Seven senior SAA staff have reportedly been served with notices of suspension.

Siphiwe Sibeko (Malawi Transport) / Reuters
Passengers board a South African Airways Boeing 737 aircraft at the Kamuzu International Airport in Lilongwe on October 25 2009.

Seven senior staff members at South African Airways (SAA) have reportedly been recommended for suspension on charges including sharing secret bid information and irregularly procuring cargo equipment. According to Times Select, the board of SAA Technical (SSAT), a subsidiary of SAA, resolved to suspend the seven employees last week after a recommendation from law firm Cliffe Decker Hofmeyr.

SAA interim general manager Vuyi Raseroka reportedly said, in a submission to the board: "The allegations against all employees referred to herein are very serious and the company intends to suspend the said employees. However, due process will be followed and the employees will be given an opportunity to give reasons on why they should not be suspended prior to a final decision being taken on whether to suspend or not."

In some instances, the employees reportedly botched tenders totalling about R4.5-billion over the past 15 years. Tenders were not advertised and bids were accepted from bidders that did not fit the criteria.

The employees were reportedly given until Monday to give reasons as to why they should not be suspended. SAA spokesperson Tlali Tlali told Times Select that they had not been suspended yet and that due process would be followed.

"We would like to emphasise, any individual referred to in those reports must be presumed innocent until otherwise proven," he reportedly said.

According to MoneyWeb, SAA Technical is reportedly in trouble and stands to risk losing its biggest external client, Comair, because of performance issues.

While SAAT reportedly has the skills to do aircraft repair and maintenance, repairs are often not done on time, leading to delays in planes taking off.

READ: Solidarity Will Go To Court To Have SAA Placed Under Business Rescue

Trade union Solidarity announced this week that it would go to court in an effort to place SAA under business rescue, as it was unlikely to make a profit or grow in the near future, according to Eyewitness News (EWN).