Johannesburg - Public
Enterprises Minister Malusi Gigaba must consider privatising SA Airways
(SAA) to prevent the airline being grounded, the DA said on Monday.
"The endemic dysfunctional nature of SAA has sapped
public coffers for too long. Enough is enough," Democratic Alliance MP
Natasha Michael said in a statement.
"The idea of a state-backed national carrier has flown
its course and must now be grounded. Surely, privatisation is the
The party's comments come in the wake of an
announcement on Monday that SAA chief executive Siza Mzimela has
resigned from the company.
Michael said Gigaba should meet with the DA "as a matter of urgency" to discuss privatising the airline.
"The former CEO has presided over an airline
characterised by spiralling debts, operational inefficiencies, and an
entrenched reliance on bailouts from the National Treasury," she said.
"These factors have finally brought the wasteful airline to its knees. The airline is now well and truly in a crisis."
She said it was "no exaggeration" that SAA could find itself grounded by the end of the year.
Gigaba's office confirmed Mzimela's resignation on Monday.
"Yes we have received the resignation. We have accepted
the resignation, but it was not with immediate effect," said Gigaba's
spokesman Mayihlome Tshwete.
"She will remain with us for some weeks until we find a suitable person to act in the interim."
Mzimela was appointed CEO in February 2010.
SAA spokesman Tlali Tlali could not confirm the resignation when contacted for comment.
The Business Day website BDLive reported on Monday that
Mzimela had described her resignation to her staff as "not a random
"I have given this decision careful thought and feel
that now is the best time to relinquish my position as your CEO and
allow somebody else to pilot the company into the future," she was
quoted as saying by the website.
Mzimela's resignation comes weeks after SAA's chairwoman Cheryl Carolus and six board members resigned.
Gigaba said he had only learnt about the mass resignation from media reports.
SAA was expected to report a R1.25bn loss for the year ended March 31, when it holds its annual general meeting next week.
Last week, the airline won support from National
Treasury after hard negotiations between it and the public enterprises
department to support the airline, which according to the previous board
has a debt to equity ratio of -359%, the website reported.
Treasury agreed to a R5bn guarantee to enable SAA to borrow from financial markets.
Fin24 on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and Pinterest.