Johannesburg - The SAA board has confidence in its new
acting CEO Nico Bezuidenhout, it said on Tuesday.
"Nico is a very experienced colleague and airline
executive, having been appointed CEO of Mango in 2006. We are very pleased that
he agreed to oversee operations and we have every confidence that he will...
provide the necessary leadership during this period," said chairperson
The SAA board announced on Monday that it had placed former
acting CEO Vuyisile Kona on precautionary suspension, with immediate effect,
based on allegations which it had a fiduciary duty to investigate.
On Tuesday, Myeni said the board's decision to ask
Bezuidenhout to oversee the business in the interim was meant to allow business
Over the years, SA Airways (SAA) has had to ask for several
bailouts from the government because of its precarious finances.
Most recently, in January, it received a R550m bank
"facility" to cover fuel and other short-term commitments, the Sunday
A number of SAA board members, including chairperson Cheryl
Carolus, unexpectedly quit last year, before the AGM in October, when their
term was due to end.
At the AGM, SAA reported a R1.3bn operating loss for the
year. The airline's losses over the past decade amount to R14.7bn.
In early October, the National Treasury announced that SAA
had been given a R5bn government guarantee to recapitalise. This would enable
it to borrow from financial markets and buy new aircraft. Public Enterprises
Minister Malusi Gigaba's spokesperson Mayihlome Tshwete, said on Tuesday that
the reasons for Kona's suspension could not yet be disclosed.
"This decision was taken by the board... and they would
prefer not to communicate on some of those points at this stage. Such a
decision could not have been an easy one. The company is facing a difficult
Tshwete said Gigaba would assess and monitor the situation
and intervene when needed.
"We respect the difficult decision that the board had
to make. We will assess it and make further intervention. Our focus is the
well-being of the company and the employees, and the well-being of the economy."
Tshwete said that while SAA's financial situation was not a
secret, matters had to be dealt with sensitively.
"SAA is going to have to be kept operationally stable.
We must enable it to go to financial markets and speak to institutions and
borrow money," he said.
The SA Transport and Allied Workers' Union has welcomed