JOHANNESBURG – Trade unions representing Mango Airlines’ workers have accused the department of public enterprises of having no intention to keep the cash strapped carrier in the sky.
The low-cost South African Airways (SAA) subsidiary was forced to indefinitely suspend its flights this week due to outstanding payments to the air traffic navigation services (ATNS).
Mango’s grounding comes on the back of organised labour's urgent business rescue application at the Johannesburg High Court.
The application will be heard on Tuesday.
The trade unions said they approached the court in a desperate attempt to save jobs – according to its legal papers.
They insist the distressed airline did not receive its portion of the R2.7 billion that was allocated to SAA, as promised by the government.
The organisations have also blamed the department of public enterprises for the crisis at the low-cost carrier -mango airlines.
In a joint statement, the Mango Pilots Association, SA Cabin Crew Association, and the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (Numsa) said – had they not proceeded with the urgent application to place mango under business rescue – the airline would be liquidated or have had its operations terminated.
The pilots association's chairperson Jordan Butler said it seems that SAA’s new equity partner Takatso Consortium has every intention to close Mango’s doors and sacrifice the livelihoods of thousands of people.
“The shareholders want total control of the business rescue process and want us to withdraw our entire application. It’s becoming blatantly obvious that they want to remove Mango to make way to Takatso Consortium’s low-cost carrier Lift. It will be interesting to see what will be unveiled in court on Tuesday.”
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Butler’s sentiments were echoed by Numsa and the SA Cabin Crew Association. Meanwhile, the department of public enterprises declined to comment.