ACSA down to 3-member board as corporate governance plagues SOE

Cape Town – Over the past three years, four board members quit Airports Company South Africa (ACSA), two of which resigned over a lack of corporate governance at the entity.

This is according to a written response from Transport Minister Blade Nzimande to a parliamentary question posed by DA MP Manny De Freitas on the number of board members who have left the company over the past three years and the reasons.

Nzimande earlier this week issued a statement indicating that he is giving his “full attention” to restore good corporate governance and financial prudence at ACSA.

The minister affirmed his commitment to deal with “maladministration, corruption and state capture”. Nzimande said in the statement he is also focusing on finalising vacant positions on the board and that a new chief executive officer would be appointed by the new board.

According to the statement current CEO Bongani Maseko’s term will be extended for six months to ensure “no vacuum of leadership” at management level. “It however must be noted that due to the high rate of resignations at the ACSA Board, the process to appoint a new chief executive officer has been derailed,” Nzimande said.

Nzimande said he is also giving “special attention” to Maseko being implicated in allegations of irregularities, corruption and violations of the Public Finance Management Act.

Nzimande consulted with the current ACSA board in April 2018, and requested a report on issues to restore stability at ACSA.

In his latest written reply, Nzimande confirmed former chairperson Skhumbuzo Macozoma resigned from ACSA following his appointment as CEO of SA National Road Agency (Sanral) in September 2016. Macozoma was appointed as chairperson in 2015 after he was appointed to the ACSA board in 2012.

Board members Siyakhula Simelane and Dr Matlhodi Mabela both resigned in April, which ACSA confirmed in a notice to shareholders about board changes on April 24. They were both appointed in March 2015 and were meant to serve for a period of three years.

In his resignation letter, Simelane informed Nzimande that he resigned due to “a number of governance issues”, which he highlighted in a letter written by the Audit and Risk Committee dated February 13, 2018.

Mabela in his letter of resignation indicated a lack of corporate governance, failure to apply the King IV, political interference as it relates to “good, sound corporate government (sic)”, as well as issues of over-reach and undermining of the board by the ACSA executive. He also listed the ACSA board composition which is “currently limping”.

Dr John Lamola, who was reappointed to the board for a second term in 2016, resigned in July 2017, following a report in the Sunday Times where he learnt his first appointment in 2012 was allegedly influenced by the Guptas. 

Skeletal board

In 2017, former Transport Minister Dipuo Peters sacked four of ACSA’s board members, listing reasons to reconstitute the board with people with required skills and expertise. The board members affected were McDonald Kenosi Moroka, Bajabulile Luthuli, Chwayita Mabude and Kate Matlou.

Her successor Joe Maswanganyi reappointed the four.

The ACSA board now consists of only three directors - two non-executive directors, including Deon Botha who is serving as acting chairperson and Matlou and Maseko as the executive director.

Acting Chief Financial Officer Dirk Kunz is not a duly appointed member of the board, according to the 24 April notice.

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