New SAA board now has an aviation expert

Cape Town – Embattled state-owned airline South African Airways (SAA) has a newly constituted board that is expected to be officially announced at a media briefing in Pretoria later on Thursday.

JB Magwaza has been appointed as the new SAA chairperson. A veteran corporate executive, according Bloomberg, Magwaza is the founder of Nkunzi Investment Holdings (Pty) Ltd and serves as its executive chairperson. He has been a director of a number of national and international companies.

The new board members are:

  • JB Magwaza, chairperson: businessman and corporate executive
  • Nolitha Fakude, deputy chairperson: non-executive director at Anglo American
  • Geoff Rothschild: businessman and former chair of the JSE
  • Ahmed Bassa: aviation expert working as a director at Aerodromes and Contrails
  • Tinyiko Mhlari: accountant and director at PSTM Consulting
  • Martin Kingston – businessman and CEO of NM Rothschild & Sons

Board members who have been retained are:

  • Swazi Tshabalala: businesswoman
  • Peter Tshisevhe: lawyer
  • Thandeka Mgoduso: human resources strategist
  • Peter Maluleka: director at SAA
  • Akhter Moosa: accountant and transport and logistics expert

Board members who have been removed are:

  • Chairperson Dudu Myeni: teacher
  • Tryphosa Mmakeaya: accountant
  • Mzimkhulu Malunga: journalist
  • Siphile Buthelezi: lawyer
  • Nazmeera Moola: economist
  • Gugu Sipamla: journalist

Gigaba has been under considerable pressure from Parliament’s standing committee on finance to appoint at least one aviation expert to the SAA board.

He told MPs during a briefing in August that National Treasury was busy recruiting someone with aviation expertise, which has now been realised with the appointment of Bassa.

National Treasury director general Dondo Mogajane told members of the committee that SAA’s lenders had been unhappy with Myeni’s tenure at SAA, insisting that she be replaced as one of the conditions for extending their debt maturity dates. 

Democratic Alliance MP Alf Lees responded to the reported removal of Myeni in a statement on Wednesday: "The question remains as to where Malusi Gigaba is going to find the R10bn that is required to meet the R 5.2bn already paid to SAA for loans and working capital as well as the R4.8bn required as working capital to keep the airline trading until the end of the 2017/18 financial year.

"Make no mistake, this reported restructuring of the SAA board and the removal of Myeni is far too little, too late to save the airline. There is no saving SAA."

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