SAA acting CEO’s skills questioned

2013-03-08 08:50

Johannesburg - South African Airways has slammed what it calls a ‘malicious attack’ on acting CEO of the airline, Nico Bezuidenhout.

The airline says nameless, faceless "mischief makers" are claiming that some applicants for the post of SAA CEO, including Bezuidenhout, have misrepresented their qualifications to the board of SAA, the body responsible for identifying the airline’s new permanent CEO.

Tlali Tlali, SAA spokesperson says the claims are “utterly false”.

“It is an attempt to harm the airline by attempting to discredit the management," Tlali said in a statement.

"Whatever the motivation of the anonymous sources in this matter, the result can only be an attempt at destruction of a significant national asset belonging to the people of South Africa,” said Tlali.

The statement claims that an “editing error” in SAA's 2011 and 2012 annual reports “erroneously reported that Mr Bezuidenhout had completed his MBA degree”.

Tlali says Bezuidenhout has completed his MBA course work, but has so far not handed in his thesis.

“These facts were laid out transparently and comprehensively in all job applications and CVs he has ever submitted. Any document, report, or other communication which claims different was written and published without his agreement and has never had his backing,” Tlali said.

The embattled national carrier has been suffering leadership issues for a number of years. In 2009 Kaya Ngqula was placed on special leave for alleged mismanagement, resulting in SAA lodging claims against him in excess of R52 million. Siza Mzimela took over the position only to make a dramatic exit in October 2012, sparked by the resignation of SAA chairperson Cheryl Carolus and 14 other board members. The reason given was a breakdown in the relationship with the shareholder ministry the Department of Public Enterprises.

Vuyisle Kona spent less than four months in the position before being suspended, at which point Bezuidenhout was appointed as the acting CEO, prior to which he has been at the helm of low cost airline mango since its launch on 30 October 2006.

The process of recruiting a new CEO was expected to be completed at the end of March 2013. The airline has indicated it will make no further statements or interviews on the issue.

Read more on:    mango  |  saa  |  travel south africa  |  travel international  |  aviation  |  flights
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