Cape Town – Beleaguered national carrier South African
Airways (SAA), has slammed what it calls a “malicious attack on the acting CEO”
of the airline, Nico Bezuidenhout.
The airline says nameless, faceless “mischief makers” are
claiming that some applicants for the post of SAA CEO – Bezuidenhout among them
– have misrepresented their qualifications to the board of SAA, the body
responsible for identifying the airline’s new permanent CEO.
Tlali Tlali, SAA spokesperson says the claims are “utterly
“It is an attempt to harm the airline by attempting to
discredit the management," Tlali said in a statement.
"Whatever the motivation of the anonymous sources in
this matter, the result can only be an attempt at destruction of a significant
national asset belonging to the people of South Africa,” said Tlali.
The statement claims that an “editing error” in SAA's 2011
and 2012 annual reports “erroneously reported that Mr Bezuidenhout had
completed his MBA degree”.
Tlali says Bezuidenhout has completed his MBA course work,
but has so far not handed in his thesis.
“These facts were laid out transparently and comprehensively
in all job applications and CVs he has ever submitted. Any document, report, or
other communication which claims different was written and published without
his agreement and has never had his backing,” Tlali said.
Bezuidenhout has been at the helm of low-cost airline Mango
since its launch on October 30 2006. He is one of the candidates being
considered for the vacant CEO position at SAA.
The airline has indicated it will make no further statements
or interviews on the issue.
*Follow James-Brent Styan on Twitter at @jamesstyan.