Wednesday, November 14, 2018
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SA Express' imminent take off welcomed

South African Express due to resume flights.Parliament’s Portfolio Committee on Public Enterprises has welcomed Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan’s announcement that SA Express will resume flights as early as next week.

“This is exciting news, specifically in light of the comment made by the Minister that certain individuals have given their expertise, either personally or through the industry, to assist in ensuring that SA Express is given its flying licence again,” said Committee Chairperson Lungi Mnganga-Gcabashe.

In an update to the Committee on Wednesday, Gordhan said the airline would commence operations next week.

In May, the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) announced the suspension of SA Express’s air operator’s certificate and the certificates of airworthiness (CoA) of nine of the 21 aircraft being operated by the airline.

The CAA reinstated its Aircraft Maintenance Organisation (AMO) certification on 22 June 2018. Subsequently in July, SA Express announced that it was readying itself for take-off.

The committee said those individuals involved in irregular contracts or underhand dealings at the airline, should not escape investigation.

The committee also heard that benefits that executives are entitled to at the institutions are being assessed, as that they must be done in a transparent manner.

“The committee heard that the overall picture at SOCs [State owned companies] is that they have a revenue of R284 billion, assets of R1.1 trillion and are at a profit/loss of R1.6 billion.”

Gordhan told the committee that 10 senior executives who were implicated in wrongdoing have since exited power utility Eskom before disciplinary hearings could be finalised.

A total of 11 criminal cases were opened, of which nine involved senior managers.

A total of 1 049 outstanding disciplinary cases have been instituted since April 2018, of which 628 have been finalised, resulting in 75 employees exiting.

Meanwhile, the committee expressed its keenness to get clarity on why the auditing firms that were involved were unable to pick up irregular expenses early on, and that huge amounts are only being discovered now.

The committee however said there is hope for the future at these entities.

“The achievements at all entities thus far give us hope for the future. It gives us the assurance that there is light at the end of the tunnel. We will certainly monitor the progress of SOCs to ensure that we remain on track,” said Mnganga-Gcabashe.