Workers have been on strike for the past week, demanding an 8% wage increase and the halting of retrenchments.
It’s a pie in the sky considering the current state of affairs at the national carrier:
SAA has debt of about R9.2 billion;
The state airline company has not made a profit since 2011;
944 staff are set to be retrenched;
SAA says a government cash bailout of R5.5bn set for next year won’t be enough.
If all of this sounds familiar, it’s because we’ve heard similar stories coming out of the SABC, the Post Office and Eskom over the past few years.
The bad news is: the corruption and mismanagement at state-owned enterprises (SOEs) is not getting any better.
In fact, it’s getting worse, according to the latest report from the Auditor-General
Kimi Makwetu revealed:
Irregular expenditure has increased from R51bn in the previous financial year to R62bn;
Unauthorised expenditure remained high at R1.365bn;
Fruitless and wasteful expenditure continued to rise, totalling R849m.
And he blasted government, saying: “None of the SOEs managed to obtain a clean audit opinion, with the South African Post Office slipping back to a qualified audit opinion and the Development Bank of Southern Africa regressing from a clean audit in 2017/18 to a financially unqualified opinion with findings in the year under review.
“The overall audit outcomes of the SOEs are the worst they have ever been.”
And all Cyril Ramaphosa’s talk of clean governance and turnaround plans seems to have had little impact.
“The overall audit outcomes of the SOEs regressed when compared to the previous year and significantly regressed over the last five years. Confidence in the ability of the executives tasked to manage the affairs of SOEs has similarly regressed over the past years,” reads the report.
“Turnaround plans initiated almost on an annual basis had almost no impact in restoring the SOE environment, as executive and management instability makes it impossible to hold those responsible accountable. We found the discipline of sustained monitoring and oversight of key controls to be extremely weak at most SOEs.”
It’s a depressing state of affairs and if government lacks the political will to change things, then citizens must show the political will to change government.