Suspended SAA CEO quits

SAA CEO Monwabisi Kalawe (PIC: who's who)
SAA CEO Monwabisi Kalawe (PIC: who's who)

Correction: This article has been updated to remove a paragraph incorrectly reflecting an alleged charge against Mr Kalawe that was not on the charge sheet. Fin24 apologises for the error.

Cape Town - Suspended South African Airways (SAA) CEO Monwabisi Kalawe has resigned.

SAA spokesperson Tlali Tlali said on Friday that SAA and Kalawe agreed that Kalawe will resign from his position as the CEO and as a director of SAA with immediate effect, thus rendering further disciplinary proceedings unnecessary.

The move comes after Kalawe failed in his bid to stop his disciplinary hearing and to overturn his suspension in the Johannesburg Labour Court last Friday.

"During the arbitration proceedings both parties agreed that the employment relationship between Mr Kalawe and SAA had irretrievably broken down and that Mr Kalawe would not seek to continue employment at SAA.

"Adv Cassim SC strongly urged both SAA and Mr Kalawe to mutually agree and resolve the terms of Mr Kalawe’s departure from SAA to avoid the costs and damage associated with protracted legal proceedings to both parties and to protect the best interests of SAA as a public Institution.

"The parties have now agreed that Mr Kalawe will resign his position as the CEO and as a director of SAA with immediate effect, thus rendering further disciplinary proceedings unnecessary," Tlali said in a statment.

According to Tlali, Kalawe will receive a payment from SAA in lieu of his contractual three months' notice and outstanding leave pay up to the termination date.

"He will, in addition, receive an ex gratia payment equivalent to an additional three months’ notice in return for agreeing to give his notice of resignation with immediate effect."

Kalawe, who was appointed in June 2013, was suspended at the end of October 2014, at the behest of SAA board chairperson Dudu Myeni.

Mango CEO Nico Bezuidenhout, who was appointed acting SAA CEO to stand in for Kalawe, said in December 2014 that it was a "human resources issue". According to reports the suspension was due to infighting between Kalawe and the board, with Kalawe and Myeni accusing each other of poor governance and procurement irregularities.

According to an affidavit Kalawe had filed with the Labour Court, he explained to then public enterprises minister Malusi Gigaba that the reason for the breakdown in his relationship with Myeni involved the airline wanting to buy 23 new wide-body jets.

It was, he said "as a result of my insistence on proper governance controls over the wide body transaction, in particular my implementation of the resolution to appoint a transaction advisor".

Fin24's attempts to reach Kalawe were unsuccessful. Myeni said she was not in a position to speak to the media at present.

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