Cape Town – Deputy Minister of Transport Sindisiwe Chikunga on Thursday reassured Parliament’s portfolio committee on transport that Minister of Transport Blade Nzimande is moving swiftly to give capacity to Airports Company South Africa and address allegations against its CEO Bongani Maseko.
Committee member for the ANC Tembalam Xego asked the ACSA delegation about the likelihood that the name of Cape Town International Airport would be changed to Winnie Madikizela-Mandela International Airport.
This comes after the struggle icon’s state funeral over the weekend, where many made the call for the airport to be named after her. Chikunga said a name change for the airport was already on the cards, but that none had yet been selected.
“The minister has been clear that we will rename Cape Town International Airport. There are many names being presented and there is a process of consultation and after that we will rename the airport accordingly,” she said.
She said other candidate whose name the airport could potentially take is former president Nelson Mandela.
Multitude of challenges
ACSA is facing a myriad of challenges administratively and financially. The company’s irregular expenditure was found to have grown from over R400m to R602.5m in the space of a financial year, and Maseko also faces allegations of impropriety.
Committee member for the Democratic Alliance Manny de Freitas asked whether the infighting between the CEO and other members of the ACSA board is hobbling the board’s ability to serve its function.
Maseko has outlasted numerous people at the helm of ACSA, who are of the view that he should be removed from the position. Chikunga said Nzimande is giving ACSA and the status of Maseko as CEO his full attention, but did not go into the finer details.
“I am not sure about conflict and noise being referred to. But the minister has a right to make board appointments. This is a process that goes through Cabinet. At any time the minister can appoint someone as chair,” said Chikunga.
She said she is not aware of any infighting at ACSA, but said this would not leave the minister or the board without capacity to perform their functions.
“There cannot be any infighting by the board members that affects the minister's ability to fill vacancies. I don't know if they are fighting or not, but it is immaterial to the minister's prerogative and the minister is moving with speed to fill vacancies and give the board capacity,” she said.
Another committee member for the DA, Christiaan Hunsinger, said the irregular expenditure found by Auditor General Kimi Makwetu at ACSA was shocking and showed that the officials are not familiar with the procurement guidelines the entity was subject to.
Committee member for the African National Congress Skhumbuzo Mpanza asked the ACSA delegation whether the board has ever held a meeting which took a pertinent decision, without that meeting reaching the required quorum.
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