(Facebook, SAA)
(Facebook, SAA)
  • SA politicians will unlikely be affected by the ongoing strike at SAA. 
  • Members of parliament are entitled to 88 domestic flights, and cabinet members 33 business class flights a year - but on any commercial airline, not only the state-owned SAA. 
  • SAA is facing an uphill battle to survive, and urgently needs billions by the end of the month.
  • For more stories, go to Business Insider SA.

South African politicians are unlikely to be affected by the ongoing labour strike at state-owned South African Airways (SAA). And if the airline goes bust, they will also not lose their generous travel benefits. 

The more than 400 members of the national assembly are entitled of the 88 domestic flights a year, and members of the cabinet receive 30 domestic business class flights. 

Also read: Cellphones, R1-million salaries, free flights and airport parking - these are some of the perks awaiting new MPs

Former cabinet ministers are entitled to 48 business class domestic flights, and former deputy ministers to 36 business class domestic flights.

Speaking to Business Insider South Africa earlier this year, parliamentary media relations manager Khuthala Noah confirmed that these flights do not have to be on SAA.

Members of parliament and ministers can, therefore, make use of any one of the commercial airlines in South Africa including British Airways and Kulula. 

Recently, Treasury tweeted a photo of finance minister Tito Mboweni flying economy class on SAA:

In response, minister of public works and infrastructure Patricia de Lille tweeted a photo of her on a British Airways flight:

NUMSA and the South African Cabin Crew Association (SACCA) members started at indefinite strike at SAA on Friday. They are demanding an 8% salary increase. SAA, in turn, says it cannot afford to pay any increases.

Unions are also demanding that SAA provide job security, amid plans to retrench a fifth of its staff.  

The embattled airline has suffered billions in losses, and for the second year running failed to submit its financial statements as its auditors believe it may not be a going concern.

Also read: These are the three ways SAA could go bust

SAA told Parliament's Standing Committee on Public Accounts last week that it is “technically insolvent”. It is understood that the airline urgently needs need funding, before the end of the month, to keep flying.

In October, the National Treasury said in a statement: "In its current configuration, SAA is unlikely to generate sufficient cash flow to sustain operations.”

Finance minister Tito Mboweni is also eager to get rid of SAA, which he believes is a luxury the South African state can’t afford. He has repeatedly said he would rather use the money it would take to keep SAA flying to instead boost public transport, including the taxi industry.