Johannesburg - Public Enterprises Minister Malusi Gigaba has
axed the board of the state-owned airliner SA Express, according to reports on
There had been a "severe breakdown" in the
relationship between the minister and the board because of a dispute about
accounting systems, Gigaba's spokesperson Mayihlone Tshwete told SABC radio
"For two years we didn't get financial statements from
the company," Tshwete told the broadcaster.
Business Day reported that the airline had failed to present
its 2011/2012 financial statements to Gigaba at its annual general meeting on
According to Beeld, there had been allegations of
irregularities, including a R32m VAT payment allegedly mistakenly made to the
SA Revenue Service.
Assets had also allegedly been managed outside the
guidelines of acceptable accounting practice, the newspaper reported.
However, Lillian Boyle, who chaired an inquiry by the board,
told the parliamentary portfolio committee earlier this year the irregularities
were "accounting errors that can be attributed to the bookkeeper's
incompetence and inexperience".
She said the mistakes had been perpetuated for a number of
years, and that they had been continuously rolled over.
On Monday, Boyle was replaced by Andile Mabizela, a
well-known businessman with experience in the airline industry.
Gigaba also replaced the auditors, Nkonki, and said the new
board should urgently resolve any outstanding issues concerning the annual
Nkonki partner Steven Firer told Business Day the firm was
relieved that it would no longer be involved in auditing the carrier.
"We are pretty happy about that because of the high
engagement risk.... There are just too many things that can go wrong. We can't
put our firm in that position again," he said.
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