Mango appointment of Nico Bezuidenhout whips up a storm

Nico Bezuidenhout
Nico Bezuidenhout

The parliamentary portfolio committee on public enterprises has written to the department of public enterprises requesting an explanation for the recent appointment of Nico Bezuidenhout as CEO of state-owned airline Mango.

The committee’s chairperson, Khaya Magaxa, said he wrote to the department after receiving a written request from the Black Management Forum (BMF) a week ago to investigate the matter.

Speaking to City Press earlier this week, Magaxa said that the committee needed to get clarity first, before deciding on the investigation.

The BMF’s letter, which City Press has seen, was written by its president, Andile Nomlala. In it, he states that Bezuidenhout’s integrity is questionable and that the initial advert for the position was withdrawn and revised to require only matric as a qualification for the job of CEO.

“The only reasonable inference that can be drawn from this is that the job requirements were ostensibly amended to suit Mr Bezuidenhout,” part of the letter reads.

Nomlala writes that the appointment does very little to advance transformation.

He goes on to pose a list of questions, including why a tertiary qualification was not a requirement for such an oversight position and why Bezuidenhout, who had previously allegedly lied about his qualifications, was appointed.

“This inclination disregards the plethora of well-experienced and well-qualified black executives who are continuously overlooked in favour of their white counterparts,” he writes.

“It also fails to acknowledge the perception and concerns raised around the resignations of black CEOs in short succession, particularly in state-owned enterprises, which is because of the insurmountable challenges they have had to face beyond their control.”

The BMF has also issued a statement condemning the recent appointment.

“The BMF would, regardless of the qualification issue, still condemn this appointment primarily as a matter of principle, but also because the selection process followed was clearly compromised, if not downright flouted,” Nomlala said in the statement.

“I can also confirm, and have the documents to prove, that the advert was altered to suit Mr Bezuidenhout. The position was advertised twice, eight months apart. The first advert had a degree as a minimum requirement, whereas the second advert did not.

“We intend to write to Parliament, which is constitutionally mandated to keep the executive accountable, to ensure that this process of candidate selection was in accordance with principles of good governance.”

Public enterprises department spokesperson Adrian Lackay confirmed receipt of Magaxa’s letter on July 12.

“The ministry will respond accordingly, within the time frames given by the chairperson, and will cooperate fully to explain the processes that the board of Mango followed to identify and appoint the new CEO,” he said.

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