KZN Premier Sihle Zikalala has called for an urgent meeting between the Provincial Government and South Africa's national carrier, the South African Airways (SAA), in the wake of reports that the airline would be cutting its routes connecting Durban to Johannesburg.
The Premier will be writing to the National Government and other key stakeholders to request the facilitation of this engagement.
The province is concerned about the economic pain and suffering this decision may cause on the provincial economy and jobs.
“While we understand SAA is facing financial difficulties and is in business rescue, which implies that it needs to streamline some of its operations, we feel they are making cuts in the wrong places. Durban's King Shaka International Airport has repeatedly been named South Africa's fastest growing airport, for example," said Zikalala.
"The decision to terminate this vital route - without any consultation with the KZN Provincial Government - amounts to economic sabotage of our province by our national carrier. We are working round the clock to put KZN on the regional economic map and we need SAA to be on the same page," said Zikalala.
Premier Zikalala has requested his colleagues - KZN MEC for Economic Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs Nomusa Dube-Ncube and KZN MEC for Finance Ravi Pillay - to facilitate a high-level meeting with the national carrier and those involved in SAA business rescue efforts with a view to get clarity on this move and to argue KZN's case for continued economic development.
The KZN Provincial Government is pursuing a multi-pronged investment strategy to ensure the province becomes South Africa's place to do business and for this strategy to succeed, the existing airline routes connecting Durban to other cities in the country and the region must be expanded, not curtailed.
KZN is hosting international events such as the World Football Summit Africa and this move in our view prematurely and unilaterally has inflicted incalculable damage to the image of our province.
ISSUED BY THE KZN PROVINCIAL GOVERNMENT
For inquires, contact:
KZN Government Provincial Spokesperson
082 884 2403
KZN Premier Media Liaison
083 253 0748