Carolus: 'Reputation dragged through mud'

2012-09-28 09:07

Johannesburg - South African Airways (SAA) has been plunged into crisis after its chairperson Cheryl Carolus and six other board members resigned, according to a report posted by Fin24.

According to a 5fm news bulletin, Carolus said, "Our reputations were being dragged through the mud and irretrievable damage had been done to the business relationship."

This is in stark contrast to a release that was posted on Wednesday in which Carolus said, "We need a bolder vision, where we are not going to be apologetic. We must be bullish and occupy the space that we believe exists for us."

In this interview Carolus had expressed confidence ahead of the annual general meeting, that government would agree to the airline's recapitalisation, at an estimated cost of between R4 and R6 billion - which she acknowledged was a substantial amount of money in a tough economic climate.

Public Enterprises minister Malusi Gigaba has since cancelled the national carrier's meeting and asked Parliament for a two-month postponement of the tabling of its annual report. 

Carolus told the BusinessDay it was "with a lot of careful thought and consideration" that she had taken this "extraordinary" step. 

"There has been a breakdown in the relationship with the shareholder. I thought we had agreed on a strategy. I'm finding it frustrating that this notion continues to exist that there is no strategic vision on the table at SAA." 

Former JSE CEO Russel Loubser was the first board member to quit, citing a lack of support from the Department of Public Enterprises, the report said. 

Recent business decisions that have been in the spotlight are the national carrier's sale of one of its valuable landing slots at London’s Heathrow Airport. This flight was discontinued on August 15 and the details of the sale such as the amount or the buyer have not been disclosed. SAA is contractually bound to privacy according to its spokesperson.

The airline also introduced a piece baggage concept at the beginning of September.

So far seven of the 14-member board have resigned.

Read more on:    saa  |  travel south africa  |  flights
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