Carol Paton Editor at Large

The business rescue practitioners of SAA, who were expected to table the rescue plan next week, have been granted a further extension of one month by creditors to finalise it.

The plan is now expected to be published on March 31.

In a statement issued on Friday, Les Matuson and Siviwe Dongwana said the main reasons for their request were the complexity of the business and the extent of consultation required before the publication of the final plan.

“The practitioners and SAA are in the process of finalisation of the proposed restructuring plan and the steps required to implement ... The employees committee, creditors committee and the department of public enterprises will be provided with an opportunity to make representations to the practitioners regarding the draft business rescue plan and to consult the practitioners in respect of such representations.

“After the practitioners have considered and discussed the aforesaid representations, the final draft of the business rescue plan will be published,” said the statement.

The National Union of Metalworkers of SA, which is one of seven unions with a presence at the company, had threatened to take court action should the restructuring plan be published without prior consultation.

“We believe that a further extension of one month will allow for sufficient time for us to finalise the draft plan, given the complexity and extent of engagement that is required in a business of this size,” Matuson and Dongwana said.

However, SAA is projected to run out of cash in first days of March, public enterprises minister Pravin Gordhan told MPs last week with little indication of where more will come from.

Although the budget allocated R16.4bn to SAA, this is earmarked specifically for the repayment of debt and interest. The budget also said that additional resources would be found to fund the restructuring from reprioritized expenditure in the budget but did not specify how much and when the money would be expected to flow.