Our safety in the air may now be in the hands of known criminals. A Mango Airlines flight suffered a scare recently, and the root cause is a bit of a shocker.

There was high drama on board a recent Mango Airlines flight from Johannesburg to Cape Town, after one of their planes was “forced into a nosedive” before making an emergency landing at OR Tambo. Preliminary investigations suggest that the cause is an extremely sinister one.

Mango Airlines emergency landing at OR Tambo

No-one on board the aircraft was injured, and all 147 passengers were able to disembark without an issue once they were on the ground. But as reports suggest on Sunday, “a criminal syndicate” who have been supplying shoddy parts for Mango are to blame.

There have been a couple of scares at South African airports in the past year: A FlySafair flight from Cape Town to Johannesburg had to return to the Mother City due to an issue with its weight capacity.Meanwhile, an Air Zimbabwe flight made a safe landing after a “small plane fire” was reported over OR Tambo.

“Criminal syndicate” responsible for safety incident

The incident with Mango was described as a “jolt” by one of the senior managers. But the air-scare has lead investigators down a dark and murky path:

The preliminary investigation into the Mango Boeing 737 incident found that the defective part which caused the nosedive had no clear service history, despite being fitted by SAA Technical who, along with Mango Airlines, are owned by the state airline South African Airways (SAA).

Mango Airlines victim of a security breach, SAA responsible

In the debrief which followed, SAA Technical admitted to a “security breach” caused by criminal enterprises who are looting “hundreds of millions of rands” from the airliners, benefitting from dishing out the faulty items. Such blatant disregard for safety could put thousands of lives at risk.

Despite its rather punctual record for on-time flights, Mango is at the behest of corruption and failures way above their own heads. SAA have been gutted by state captors and pathetic management at an executive level. The footprint of Dudu Myeni remains etched into the fabric of the company, and its damaged reputation.

South African Airways and South African Express were both in the headlines again this week, after each company failed to submit audited annual reports to Parliament by the 30 September deadline. Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan said the financials statements and audit reports of both airlines will be submitted once the going concern status of both airlines is resolved – tentatively, March 2020 has been pencilled in.

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