In quotes: former SAA boss 'exposes' Malusi Gigaba in state capture testimony

Former SAA CEO Sizakele Mzimela said at the state capture inquiry on Wednesday that former public enterprises minister Malusi Gigaba, pictured, 'broke good governance' at the airline.
Former SAA CEO Sizakele Mzimela said at the state capture inquiry on Wednesday that former public enterprises minister Malusi Gigaba, pictured, 'broke good governance' at the airline.
Image: Esa Alexander

Controversial former public enterprises minister Malusi Gigaba has been implicated at the state capture inquiry following former SA Airways (SAA) CEO Sizakele Mzimela's testimony on Wednesday. 

Mzimela alleged that Gigabaa allegedly pushed for the airline to drop its Johannesburg-Mumbai route, despite it apparently not making sense to do so. Mzimela claimed Gigaba broke good governance rules at SAA.

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Here are four key quotes from her testimony:

Cutting routes

Mzimela said Gigaba tried to force SAA and the board to cut the route even when it allegedly didn't make sense to do so.

"While it was true that Mumbai, from a point-to-point perspective, was making a loss, they were concerned that it was not the worst-performing route in the network. They couldn't understand why there was a recommendation to close off the route, given that it was not the highest loss-making route.

"They were also concerned about the recommendation being based on a code-sharing agreement with Jet Airways. They asked why only Jet Airways had been considered for code-sharing."

Code-sharing

Mzimela said SAA wasn't against a code-sharing agreement but the Jet Airways proposal made no sense.

"Jet Airways comes with the proposal to say, 'SAA, you terminate your operation. You terminate your physical operation on Johannesburg to Mumbai and you code-share on us. Put your passengers on us'."

Disappointed by Gigaba

Mzimela said she was disappointed by how Gigaba was silent throughout the tongue-lashing SAA executives received from Jet Airways CEO Naresh Goyal.

"It was disappointing because Gigaba, sitting there as the shareholder, at the very least he should probably have used the opportunity to re-emphasise, or in his own words represent what I had put to him that we should come to a mutually beneficial agreement."

Change in the ministry

Mzimela said things changed when Gigaba replaced Barbara Hogan in the public enterprise ministry.

"Under minister Gigaba things were beginning to fall through the cracks in terms of the management of information, the management of requests that were coming through from members of the ministry who in the past really had no relationship with the organisation, which was for me a breakdown in good governance."


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