Mango Business Rescue Practitioner, Sipho Sono, says according to the law, he is free to go ahead and complete the sale of South African low-cost carrier Mango to a still unknown bidder, for an unknown price.
Sono has issued a report in which he claims that the Minister of Public Enterprises, Pravin Gordhan, has failed to make a decision on the sale of the airline after a number of legal processes lodged by the Department of Public Enterprises ended when the Minister didn’t deliver the latest petition timeously to the Supreme Court of Appeal (the petition was for leave to appeal against an earlier judgment by the SCA).
Therefore, the BRP says, in terms of the law, he is now entitled to go ahead and complete the sale of the business to an unknown bidder.
The statement by Sono lists the expired deadlines in the legal process and says the Minister failed to deliver his petition to the SCA within the prescribed time period.
“The BRP sought legal advice and was informed that where a petition has been belatedly filed, the principal judgment’s order continues to remain operational as a condonation application does not suspend the operation and execution of any order. This then means that the principal judgment is not suspended and remains executable notwithstanding the existence of the belated petition. Furthermore, the PE Minister also failed to take a decision as directed in the principal judgment. On 31 January 2024, the BRP addressed a letter to the PE Minister recording what is set out above and informing the PE Minister that the BRP has assumed, as he is entitled to, that the section 54(2) application has been approved by operation of section 54(3) of the PFMA.”
Sono says that on January 31, he addressed a letter to the Public Enterprises Minister, describing the legal processes, and informing him that the BRP has assumed, as he is entitled to, that the section 54(2) application has been approved by operation of section 54(3) of the PFMA.
The only alternative to the completion of the purchase, says Sono, is a winding-down process. The BRP remains of the opinion that there is a reasonable prospect of rescuing the company, or that the BR proceedings would result in a better outcome for creditors and the shareholder of the company than would otherwise be achieved should the company be placed in liquidation.
It’s likely that the DPE will fight back – Gordhan has previously said he would not be bullied into the sale of the airline and reiterating his responsibility to apply the law on his oversight on state-owned entities.
He said last September he would not succumb to pressure put on him by elements with zero regard for South Africans.
The National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (Numsa) yesterday told local news site iol.co.za that Gordhan should “approve the sale of Mango instead of wasting taxpayers’ time and money in protracted legal processes already pronounced on by the courts”.