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SAA board not the problem - Satawu

Aug 01 2016 15:15
Lameez Omarjee

Johannesburg - The South African Transport and Allied Workers Union (Satawu) believes that the board of South African Airways (SAA) not solely to blame for the state of the national airline.

Satawu responded to Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan’s statement last week that the board and management of SAA need to be changed.

“By pronouncing a need for a new board, we are contesting that kind of thinking,” explained Satawu general secretary Zenzo Mahlangu.

He said that in the past CEOs and boards had been replaced and problems still remained. “Historically so many boards have changed. More than six CEOs changed and some did not last a year,” said Mahlangu. “It does not resolve the issues of SAA… [They] need to think out of the box to make changes.”

Read: SAA requires a whole new board - Gordhan

The executive committee also needs to be “looked” at, said Mahlangu. “Those people advise the board on which decisions to take.”

"There are people in the executive committee and Treasury operating in dark corners” with the interest of making money, he said. “The chairman and the board are not the complete cause of the problems at SAA.”

According to a statement released by the union on July 28 2016, the union questioned a meeting between the minister and the SAA Pilot’s Association (SAAPA).

The union claims it had written to the minister “more than once” to discuss SAA, but never received a response. “SAAPA is a trade union just like SATAWU and others, so why would the minister find it proper to meet with the organisation while ignoring our requests?” it asked.

“We are worried that the minister has made a drastic decision after having given audience to only one stakeholder, effectively taking a side on an issue that involves multiple stakeholders.”

SAAPA could not be reached for comment.

Gordhan said last week that the new board and management team could include existing members and “new blood”. A turnaround strategy should be implemented for the airline to be able to continue, he said.

“We will continue to find answers to the challenges at the moment,” he said. “We must do political homework to get credible people on board.”

People with the right skills balance can take the airline’s development upward, he said.

Read Fin24's top stories trending on Twitter:

saa  |  pravin gordhan  |  dudu myeni  |  transport  |  airline
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