The demise of SA Express has been described as regrettable. Unions have criticized the government for what they describe as a failure to save jobs.

The High Court in Johannesburg has ordered the winding up of SA Express – leaving more than 700 employees and their families out in the cold. This liquidation comes at a time when the few remaining domestic airlines are facing operational problems.

Unions representing hundreds of employees say goodbye to another local carrier.

SA Express can no longer afford to pay its rising debt levels. The airline’s debts to creditors are believed to exceed 900 million rand.

Almost 138 million rubles of unpaid wages. More than 700 employees lost their jobs. Trade unions are blamed for corruption, looting and state capture

DYPUSA Secretary General Mashudu Rafeta says: “The South African Government should have prioritized the revival of SA Express as the only organization that had the ability to restore the airline to fly again. We believe that the South African government and politicians have failed the people of South Africa, people have corruptly looted, taken money from this airline and killed it, to the horror of our members.”

The SA Transport and Allied Workers Union (Satawu) says efforts to save the airline have failed. Now all that remains is to provide workers with fair compensation.

SATAWU spokesperson Amanda Tshemese says, “This is very sad because even in the country now, there is high unemployment, especially among the youth. However, we are going to make sure that our members are given a reasonable percentage in the form of shares to keep them going for a while.”

On the other hand, other unions complained about the lack of transparency of the events that led to the liquidation.

SACCA president Zazi Nsibanyoni-Mugambi says, “We have opposed the liquidation of SA Express many times but unfortunately the people who should push and fight for the survival of SAA like the DPE have failed to oppose any such process, they have been absent. Aviwe’s liquidator has been extremely secretive about many things in the liquidation process.’

Tabisile Sihahane has been with SA Express for many years. She says the layoffs have left employees already struggling to make ends meet devastated.

SA Express employee Thabisile Sihahane laments: “We are truly saddened by the final liquidation of SA Express after many attempts to resuscitate the airline. We believe that the government now has a moral obligation to step in and ensure that employees get what they are entitled to.”

Aviation expert Dr Joachim Vermuten also weighed in on the demise of SA Express, saying the move would see competitors step in to fill the gap.

“Unfortunately, this means that there is no relief for employees who have not received their wages, and in terms of market share and the routes they used, competitors will have to step up and enter this market to ensure that the liquidation of the company no space will be left. SA Express”.

Unions have called on the government to convene an urgent aviation summit to address the many problems that have plagued the aviation sector in recent years. They are worried that failure to act could lead to the last remaining airlines, such as SAA and Mango, also shutting down, leaving more workers out of a job.

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