Collapsed travel agency owes millions to customers and staff

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Liquidators’ first report on STA Travel paints grim picture

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Photo of a shop front

STA Travel in South Africa ceased trading on 21 August. Photo: James Stent

  • STA Travel has gone into liquidation, a casualty of the Covid-19 pandemic.
  • With assets of R3.7 million and liabilities of R213.5 million, few people will see their money back.
  • About 200 employees and 27,000 customers are owed money.

The first report by the provisional liquidators of STA Travel paints a grim picture of the defunct travel agency.

STA Travel was placed in liquidation on 30 September, following the submission of a special resolution to the Companies and Intellectual Property Commission (CIPC).

On 13 October, GroundUp reported on the chaos that followed the collapse of the company.

Shortly after publication, on 16 October, an official of the Masters of the High Court confirmed to GroundUp that a liquidation application had been launched in Cape Town. On 28 October, Jurgens Steenkamp and Cheryl Jones from JJS Administrators were appointed as provisional liquidators.

According to their first report, a hold has been placed on STA Travel’s accounts by the liquidators. Its total assets amount to R3.7 million, while its liabilities total R213.5 million, including R2.1 million owed to about 200 employees. Approximately 27,000 customers are owed an estimated R91 million.

According to the liquidators, the next step in the liquidation process is for the Masters of the High Court to convene a meeting of creditors and shareholders. This meeting would finalise the appointment of liquidators and submission of proof of claims.

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TOPICS:  Covid-19 Economy

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Letters

Dear Editor

I fail to understand how this could happen to a travel agency that has had a rock-solid reputation for a few decades! When Covid happened, did they see a gap and took the opportunity to scam people? Because that’s exactly how I feel! Scammed! They took my hard-earned money and disappeared into thin air! My friend and I booked a flight to attend my niece’s wedding in Bali in July 2020. We paid in full in January 2020. Our flights were booked via Singapore Airlines. Then the pandemic hit us and the lockdown was implemented globally. Understandably so. When the story hit the media of STA Travel’s demise it was a huge disappointment. My email to them came back undelivered as I wanted to know how do I claim a refund. I also took it up with Singapore Airlines to no avail. They informed me that our E-ticket numbers were no longer valid. How can these directors take the hard-earned money of working-class citizens, enrich themselves, walk away and thing think they can get away with it? This is so unfair! It’s just not right! What is the way forward to get our money back?