SAA the ‘Hollywood of Kempton Park’ – acting CEO

SAA Acting CEO Musa Zwane. (Carin Smith)
SAA Acting CEO Musa Zwane. (Carin Smith)

Cape Town – South African Airways (SAA) is known as Hollywood of Kempton Park due to the amount of managers who are operating in an acting capacity.

That was the view of acting CEO Musa Zwane, who told Parliament on Wednesday that SAA needs to stabilise its management team following the appointment of SAA’s new board in September.

“There is a loss of skills internally,” he said. “We need to quickly address this problem. It has a bottom line impact. Revenues are not as they should be, which is a challenge in the commercial area.”  

Board member Peter Maluleka told Parliament that the board committee on human resources has already started the process of identifying and appointing a full time CEO and CFO.

Deputy Finance Minister Mcebisi Jonas told Parliament that the board was told to solve the issue of competent executives “as a matter of urgency”.

“It requires an immediate intervention to bring capacity within the airline and consistency in what they need to deal with,” he said.

SAA chairperson Dudu Myeni told Parliament that it was a “grave concern of the board that there were ghost employees that did not exist (at SAA)”.

“Those are areas that this particular board will ensure it addresses.”

From left SAA chairperson Dudu Myeni, CEO Musa Zwa

From left SAA chairperson Dudu Myeni, CEO Musa Zwane and acting CFO Phumeza Nhantsi. (Pic: Matthew le Cordeur, Fin24)

Jonas said Treasury had requested a new board committee be set up that focused on finances and one that focused on a turnaround strategy. Both of these had been set up, he said.

“We are looking at the liquidity of the airlines and are reviewing the strategies… to check whether it (the current strategy) is still valid,” he said.

Treasury is SAA’s shareholder and has provided it with a R5bn guarantee this year.    

Jonas said the board had been given a target of December to complete the process so it can begin 2017 and engage with what is proposed.

“There is a robust discussion within the board and between SAA and Treasury,” he said.

Jonas also said a difficult issue is the rationalisation of SAA shareholding within different entities.

Myeni also praised the urgency of the new board, saying the turnaround strategy committee had met three times since being announced at its October 28 AGM.

Jonas said there is work happening in that area to determine whether SAA needs a private partner or an equity partner. “Those discussions are ongoing with SAA and Treasury.”

Maluleka said the ethics committee had also met and discussed the “commitment of adherence of the board that there are clear lines between the role of the board and the role of management”.

“There will be no situation where there is confusion about what the board and management is supposed to do,” he said.

Regarding procurement, he said the “board will not have a role when procurement is concerned”.

“It is a domain of management,” he said. “We as a board have committed ourselves to adhering to good governance and practices.”

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