It's official: Vuyani Jarana is SAA's new CEO

Cape Town – Newly appointed South African Airways (SAA) CEO Vuyani Jarana has signed his employment contract with the national carrier, spokesperson Tlali Tlali confirmed on Tuesday.

“SAA is pleased to announce that Mr Vuyani Jarana has accepted its offer of employment with the airline.

“The one thing outstanding is to finalise his release date with his current employer and this in turn will enable us to announce the start date at SAA,” Tlali said. 

There were doubts as to whether Jarana has in fact signed an employment contract with the national carrier and the airline also could not confirm this when approached for comment on Monday.

SAA earlier said Jarana has received an offer from the airline and that it is awaiting his response.

Jarana’s appointment was announced in a statement issued by National Treasury on August 3; he is SAA’s first permanent CEO since November 2015.

Jarana, 46, has been head of Vodacom’s enterprise division since 2012 and was previously chief operating officer at the mobile company.

National Treasury said Jarana would commence his duties after his current employer has officially released him.

Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba however pointed out during a parliamentary briefing early in August that the appointment of a permanent CEO at SAA is only one step in bringing back the airline to financial health.

“The new CEO, important as it is, is only one step in a stream of decisions that we’ll need to make to address the challenges at SAA,” he said. 

The Finance Minister stressed that unless firm internal controls are established at the airline, it is likely to encounter the same problems over and over again. “We need to stabilise the governance process by filling up critical skills in the exco. We also need to flatten the structure of exco and management so that there are not too many layers to delay decision-making.”

Chief commercial officer

Meanwhile, SAA is still busy with the process of appointing a chief commercial officer. 

Alf Lees, Democratic Alliance (DA) spokesperson on SAA, asked in a parliamentary question for an update on the airline's recruitment process for the position. 

Acting SAA CEO Musa Zwane said in a written reply that the position was advertised and reached the closing date on August 1 2017.

A total of 107 applications were received. A provisional shortlist was compiled and a shortlist discussion was scheduled for August 11 2017.

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