A South African Airways Airbus. Picture: SUNDAY TIMES
A South African Airways Airbus. Picture: SUNDAY TIMES

South African Airways (SAA) is in the process of diversifying its debt portfolio and has approached the Public Investment Corporation (PIC) in this regard, the airline’s chief financial officer Phumeza Nhantsi said in Parliament on Tuesday.

She did not inform members of the standing committee on finance on the outcome of the discussions with the PIC. MPs are concerned about whether SAA will be able to repay the R9bn in loans, which become due on Friday. Standard Chartered is one of the lenders that has indicated it wants the loan repaid and is not prepared to roll it over.

Nhantsi said the process of engaging with lenders has been ongoing to get an extension of loans. Treasury director-general Dondo Mogajane added there were indications that lenders would roll over the loans. Treasury officials have been actively engaging with lenders. "We are seized with the matter," he said. If the loans are not paid, SAA will have to call up some of the R19bn guarantee the state has provided the airline.

Mogajane said he could not say too much as it would jeopardise the discussions.

SAA GM of cargo Tleli Makhetha gave the assurance that, contrary to suggestions by DA deputy finance spokesman Alf Lees, SAA has been able to pay salaries, even when there are financial pressures: "There has not been any risk of salaries not being paid."

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