I am saddened and sickened to hear of the renewed demise of our flag carrier, SAA. From 2008 to 2010 I was privileged to work with a team at SAA that poured blood, sweat, tears, heart and soul into addressing the issues the airline was facing.
As an external, independent party working with the airline I owed them no loyalties beyond my professional duties. However, I was pleasantly surprised to find that the majority of the Board, at the time, was made up of competent individuals with a desire to turn the airline around after the wrongs of the previous leadership.
This team of people was largely made up of experienced airline professionals with a passion for the industry and a desire to see our national carrier soar once again. And then politics stepped through the boardroom door.
Everyone knew a white male CEO would never captain the airline for long, but there was hope that good decision making and common sense would reign and a competent leader would be appointed to take the controls. Initially the appointment by the Department of Public Enterprises was well received. Unfortunately what followed was the systematic expulsion of those who had fought to keep the airline afloat and the appointment of friends and allies of the new guard. Those who were not pushed were forced to jump. And years of hard work were so quickly undone.
What a waste. What a sad, unnecessary waste. When will we learn that our national treasures are not to be plundered by the few, more privileged 'previously disadvantaged' among us, but to be nurtured so that our country can reap the benefits for decades to come? “Desperate to be Proudly South African”
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