SAA CEO Thomas Kgokolo on Monday confirmed Mango airlines will be placed under business rescue, following financial difficulties which culminated in staff not receiving June salaries.
As reported by eNCA, Numsa said it will file an urgent application with the High Court in Johannesburg on Monday. Numsa also asked for Ralph Lutchman from Concord Administrators to be appointed as the business rescue practitioner.
“[The South African Cabin Crew Association, and Numsa] say they have been forced to take this extraordinary measure as a result of the desperate situation which their members and all employees at Mango find themselves in,” eNCA’s Heidi Giokos confirmed.
Mango goes into business rescue
Kgokolo said the situation at Mango is “quite unfortunate”.
“We are aware at a group level that there are delayed salaries. Shareholders have agreed for Mango to go into business rescue. We are currently consulting with labour and all stakeholders in terms of how to manage the process.”
Kgokolo said the airline would be looking to expand its cargo offering. The board will meet this week “to do a final touch-up” before confirming its official “restart date”.
“We are doing our utmost best to make sure the impact on jobs is not as negative as it’s spoken about.”
A ‘political agenda’
Mango Pilot Association chair Jordan Butler earlier said “it is a travesty that the staff are caught in the crossfire of what is clearly a political agenda”.
“Especially after the sacrifices staff have already made this year to keep the business afloat. Staff are worse of this month than in lockdown,” he added.
Here he refers to voluntary salary cuts taken by employees last year to prop up the company during hard times. As per last year, Butler says that they will go to work regardless, and try and keep Mango going.
“We all love what we do. Pilots are dedicated and want nothing more than to take to the sky and do the job they love. You will be hard-pressed to find a more loyal and dedicated employee body.”
‘Gatvol’ Mango staff
Mango staff are gatvol, too.
“We are busy looking at strategic solutions in collaboration with the other unions at Mango. There are a few options available to us.” However, he adds, “quiet diplomacy seems to have reached the end of the road.” He would not elaborate on what that meant at this time.
Last month, The Citizen reported on the emotional and psychological damage Mango staff have likely gone through, with psychologist Louisa Niehaus saying that being kept in such limbo, for so long, can lead to depression and other negative states of being.
Additional reporting by Hein Kaiser