In Act III, Scene II of Shakespeare’s Hamlet, Queen Gertrude, Hamlet’s mother, remarks: ”The lady doth protest too much, methinks.” It suggests that someone who is strongly denying something is hiding the truth.
The above line do come to mind after the South African Airways (SAA) has rejected claims on social media that it procured bottled water and fuel at a premium. In a statement released by the Government’s news agency sanews.gov.za, the bankrupt airline says “SAA has noted with concern false claims that the entity pays more for its supplies than the retail or market price on some of the commodities it procures. The claims are baseless and misleading and we reject them”.
The national carrier, who has been bailed out by government with taxpayers’ money to the tune of R50billion since 1999, said it took note of comments on social media platforms suggesting that it procures commodities such as a bottled water and fuel at a premium. “Nothing could be further from the truth and it would be foolhardy not to negotiate the best possible price, given the high volumes of supplies we procure.
“A company the size of SAA procures its supplies and products from a range of suppliers in substantial volumes and we must ensure that we conduct business in a manner compliant with our own supply chain policy, National Treasury regulations and other relevant legal prescripts.”
Price competitiveness, said SAA, is one of the most important considerations in evaluating bids and forms part of its criteria in any tender process.
“It would be treasonous to procure these commodities at an exorbitant rate. In this case, we source bottled water and jet fuel supplies from the bottling company and oil majors respectively, and not from any third parties. SAA procures bottled water at a rate even less than the wholesale price of R2.75 suggested on social media platforms.”
Fuel is an important commodity for SAA, as it accounts for approximately 25% of its operating costs.
“We have to get the best price in the market in order to remain in business. We are comfortable that we are procuring this commodity within a competitive price range. Of course, we will always demand greater efficiency and innovation from all our supply chain partners in order to create a competitive headroom for ourselves in the market.”
SAA said some of the claims made on social media are disturbing and devoid of truth.