Minister of Public Enterprises Lynne Brown on Wednesday described embattled air carrier SAA Express as a “problem child”.
Brown was speaking during a Parliamentary briefing on the state of the country’s State Owned Enterprises (SOE).
The Minister provided an appraisal of the state of SOE’s, a picture of contrasts with some performing well while others continue to struggle.
According to Brown SOE’s have till date recorded a profit of R5.4 billion for the 2015/16 financial year.
“SAA Express has serious challenges which are largely structural more than operational. The carrier also faces profitability and liquidity challenges,” said Brown.
Last year the SA Civil Aviation Authority (SACAA) suspended SA Express’s air operator certificate over failure to comply with the applicable civil aviation regulations.
Currently, according to Brown, SAA Express air crafts are on the ground with four of them grounded due to maintenance issues.
“It [SA Express] needs to replace it’s fleet in the right way as this has been part of the problem,” said Brown.
However Brown added that there was an internal war room around SA Express committed to effect a turnaround strategy.
“We will be re-looking at the leadership at the airline and we will ensure we keep the planes in the air,” said Brown.
However in contrast, the Minister presented a glowing report of power utility Eskom.
“Eskom has maintained good financial outlook with a R4.6b profit for 2015/16 financial year and is expected to post a profit for the next financial year,” said Brown.
Meanwhile, Brown stated that there should be a commission of inquiry into former Public Protector Thuli Madonsela’s State of Capture report.
“When the State of Capture report came out, I wrote to board members of the SOEs in my portfolio asking them if they have any conflict of interests,” Brown said.
According to Brown, four people employed by power utility Eskom, then resigned from the utility. Brown however declined to name those who resigned.
“It remains my view that there should be an inquiry or investigation into the report, it does however remain the prerogative of the President,” said Brown.