Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba has expressed full confidence in SAA chairwoman Dudu Myeni and the airline’s board of directors‚ although he says he will remain hands-on at the troubled national carrier.
Gigaba also said he wanted to put in measures for better governance at the board level of SAA as he was convinced it was capable of turning around its fortunes.
His attitude towards Myeni‚ who is said to enjoy the support of President Jacob Zuma‚ is in contrast with that of his predecessor, Pravin Gordhan, who took a hard line against the SAA board chair.
Gigaba was briefing the media shortly after delivering his first Treasury budget vote in parliament yesterday.
“It’s quite clear that for the airline to turn around we need to have the department being more hands-on because the solutions don’t only come from recapitalisation or even any of the solutions proposed.
“They come first and foremost on the quality leadership that we have at the company in the form of the board‚” Gigaba said.
He said one way of strengthening the board would be by filling the one vacancy with someone with aviation expertise.
“My own belief is that if we strengthen governance instruments at SAA‚ ensure there is stability at the board‚ ensure there is a CEO‚ ensure the CFO functions and performs as well as we expect her to and that the board pays attention to the implementation of the long-term turnaround strategy as has been reviewed‚ I think that we can turn the airline around and bring it back to financial health.”
Gigaba said the national Treasury was still considering its options regarding the recapitalisation of SAA‚ which could include a possible partnership with a private equity partner.
The government was also mulling over the idea of merging all its aviation assets into one airline.
It owns various companies that operate as separate entities‚ including SAA‚ low-cost airline Mango and regional carrier SA Express.
– TMG Digital/TimesLIVE