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SAA 'not falling apart'

Oct 09 2012 10:15

Johannesburg - The public enterprises department denied on Tuesday that "things are falling apart" at SA Airways following a string of resignations.

"There is an appearance of things falling apart, but things are not falling apart at SAA," public enterprises director general Tshediso Matona told SABC radio news.

"The events in our view could have been avoided... are completely unnecessary."

SAA CEO Siza Mzimela and two other senior managers, corporate affairs general manager Theuns Potgieter, and general manager for legal, risk and compliance Sandra Coetzee, resigned from the airline this week.

This came barely two weeks after most of the board - including chairperson Cheryl Carolus - also quit, saying there was a lack of support from its shareholder, the public enterprises department.

Matona said the resignations happened while the department was busy preparing for its annual general meeting.

"We had been engaged with the company through a process of preparing for the annual general meeting, so when we step outside of disciplined processes, personality complexes take over, and then in the end we all lose, because leadership fails," he told the SABC.

Public Enterprises Minister Malusi Gigaba said in September that the state-owned airline needed to present a long-term plan to ensure a strong and viable financial future.

In early October the National Treasury announced that SAA had been given a R5bn government guarantee for a recapitalisation exercise.

The SAA board is also busy suing former SAA CEO, Khaya Ngqula, who left the airline in 2009, to recover about R252m from him in four separate claims following a forensic investigation by auditors KPMG.

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