The National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (NUMSA) is celebrating another victory in the labour court. On Friday South African Airways went to court to try and block our members from marching at SAA and SAA Technical. NUMSA members wanted to highlight the crisis of corruption at the airline. It’s no secret that SAA’s financial woes are purely as a result of looting and corruption taking place at the airline. Unfortunately SAA got more than it bargained for at the Labour court and their attempts failed dismally.
The Labour court realized that our members are waging an honorable fight against corruption at the airline, and sided with us. One of NUMSA’s demands is that senior executive managers at SAA who have been implicated in corruption must immediately be placed on suspension pending a disciplinary process. There have been several forensic investigations into the SOE conducted by various firms including one conducted by Open Waters; another by Ernst and Young, as well as an investigation by Edward Nathan Sonnenberg. These reports detail incidents of wide scale looting and corruption which is taking place at SAA. SAA refused to take action against these executives despite them being implicated in these reports for alleged corruption.
The Labour Court found in our favor and ordered that the following executives must be suspended pending an investigation into corruption: Former SAA acting CEO Mr. Musa Zwane; Mr. Chaile Makaleng, HOD Baseline Maintenance; Ms. Nontsasa Memela, HOD Procurement; and Ms. Princess Tshabalala who also in Procurement.
The court also ordered that SAA must appoint an independent advocate who is acceptable to both parties to chair any disciplinary hearing that may follow. This is to ensure that the airline doesn’t manipulate the process in order to protect senior managers.
Furthermore the court also ordered that NUMSA must be allowed to give evidence during the investigation.
Since we got what we wanted through the courts, we now no longer have to resort to a strike. NUMSA has proven once again that it is truly a militant workers union. We are not just militant on the streets, but we will use all the weapons at our disposal to fight for workers’ rights in South Africa.
To our members at SAA and SAAT we want to say thank you for your courage and your determination. Our members stood firm and were resolute, despite some of them being suspended for daring to speak out against corruption. Our members have proven once again that real power lies in the hands of the Working Class. We salute you for your bravery and for standing up for your rights and the rights of thousands of other SAA employees. Because of you, the winds of change at SAA are blowing, whether they like it or not.
The struggle continues!
Issued by Phakamile Hlubi
Acting NUMSA spokesperson