SAA starting to collect Zimbabwe millions

SAA says it is in discussions with Zimbabwe to recover millions of rand worth of debt.

Zimbabwe and other African countries are said to owe the national carrier more than R1billion in tickets.

This problem has been going on for some time, but SAA said yesterday it was making progress with Zimbabwe on the repayments.

Last year, the National Treasury said there were also discussions between political heads and ministers in several countries for the settlement of the matter. Other countries who owe SAA are Angola, Senegal and Nigeria.

However, the Treasury said some of the funds had been repaid by some of the countries. It said between $20m and $25m (R280m and R350m) had been repaid.

SAA spokesperson Tlali Tlali said yesterday it was in discussions with Zimbabwe over the repayments.

He said Zimbabwe has made some of the repayments, but would not say how much. He also did not disclose the total amount due to SAA.

It was believed that Zimbabwe owed SAA $7m, but Tlali said the amount was higher.

“There are ongoing discussions between us and the Zimbabwean authorities to ensure that funds due to SAA are finally and fully repatriated,” he said.

The Treasury said it was in constant consultation with the governments of the countries owing SAA.

Tlali said it was hoping the matter would be resolved soon, particularly considering SAA has been in financial trouble for more than 15 years.

Finance Minister Tito Mboweni has said SAA needs to close shop and be sold to private companies.

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Opposition parties have also been vocal in Parliament about the state of affairs of SAA.

However, the ANC has said it would not allow for privatisation.

The carrier has raked in billions of rand in losses in the past decade, with multiple turnaround strategies failing to change its fortunes.

Some parties have described it as a “bottomless pit”.

The Treasury had raised in the Medium Term Budget Policy Statement that SAA and other state-owned entities were a risk to the economy.

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