Pravin Gordhan appoints interim SAA board

SAA (Supplied)
SAA (Supplied)

Six non-executive directors have been appointed to the interim board of South African Airways.

The announcement comes a week after Cabinet requested the Department of Public Enterprises (DPE), led by Minister Pravin Gordhan, to finalise the appointments of the interim board. The new appointments have a variety of expertise, ranging from academia to legal, finance and aviation. 

The DPE said in a statement that the new board will "restore proper governance and oversight" at the airline, during the implementation of its business rescue plan. SAA was placed in business rescue a year ago, as it was facing a liquidity crisis.

The new appointments are:

Geoff Qhena (Chairperson)

Qhena is a former CEO of the Industrial Development Corporation is a qualified chartered accountant. 

Peter Tshisevhe

Tshisevhe is a mergers and acquisitions lawyer. He is retained from the previous board to retain continuity, the DPE said. Tshisevhe is a director and partner at Johannesburg law firm TGR Attorneys and a part-time lecturer at Wits Law School.

June Crawford

Crawford is an aviation and tourism professional; she leads the Aviation Working Group of the South African Business Council. She was the CEO of the Board of Airlines Representatives of South Africa. She is also a former director at the Air Traffic and Navigation Services and deputy chairperson of the Tourism Council of South Africa.

Bembe Zwane

Zwane is a former executive of Imperial Logistics and Equity Aviation. She is an aviation entrepreneur and a part-owner of an aviation training solutions provider, a car rental business and an aviation logistics business.

Professor Edna van Harte 

Van Harte is a former Dean of the Faculty of Military Science at the South African National Defence Force's military academy. She is also former chairperson of the Defence Service Commission, and has served on various boards and commissions, the DPE said.

Nick Fadugba

Fadugba is an aviation professional, with experience in consulting and promoting aviation development on the African continent and leading the African Airlines Association. He has served as the chairperson of African Business Aviation Association and has been involved in discussions on a Single African Air Transport Market.

At the medium-term budget policy statement Finance Minister Tito Mboweni announced SAA would recieve R10.5 billion for the business rescue process. The funds had to be reprioritised from national departments and their entities as well as conditional grants to provincial and local governments. At a briefing to Parliament, business rescue practitioner Siviwe Dongwana explained the fund would go toward employee related payments, which includes retrenchment packages, refunds to consumers for unflown tickets, the rcapitalisation of SAA's subsidiaries Mango and SAA Technical and working capital to restart operations. According to Gordhan, this was a better option than liquidation, Fin24 previously reported.

Earlier this week, the DPE issued a statement indicating that certain labour unions were trying to undermine the business rescue process at the airline - as they wanted to reject salary deferments agreed to last week Friday. The department said that it considered three months' payment for outstanding salaries to be fair. Some unions are now seeking full settlement of outstanding salaries. 

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