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SAA must find its commercial legs and root out crooks, says new CEO

Nov 21 2017 16:52
Matthew le Cordeur

Cape Town – South African Airways (SAA) must finds its commercial legs and a process will unfold to root out corrupt employees, chief executive Vuyani Jarana told a parliamentary committee on Tuesday.

“There are no miracles at SAA,” he said. “It must find its commercial legs.”

However, he said the airline requires further recapitalisation for the turnaround plan to truly take off.

The R10bn capital injection announced by Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba was still not enough, Jarana explained in his presentation to Parliament’s standing committee on appropriations.

“SAA will remain undercapitalised with a negative equity position of over R9bn,” the presentation showed.

“The bailout does not go far enough to address the issue,” he said.

He said the airline’s commercial unit has been depleted of skills and needs to invest technology and skills to become more competitive.

“I am the new captain that will drive the ship,” he said.

Referring to the “rot” that has set in at SAA, he said there will be a focus on “running a very accountable business”.

“We will take action against people who have done wrong,” he said “It will be important to focus on the transgressions that have been committed recently. I can’t go back 10 years. SAA will sink even further if I spend all my time doing this.”

Jarana will also review the Miami office, where SAA has a call centre. “Commercially, it does not make sense but I must engage people at SAA regarding the matter.”

Democratic Alliance MP Alf  Lees told Fin24 that Varana is clearly committed to running SAA commercially.

“However, there were disappointing opening remarks by SAA board chair JB Magwaza that not all the information requested by Parliament can be provided as it is sensitive commercial information.

“It was also disturbing to learn that the emergency payment of R1.8bn to SAA for Citibank was not all needed (in full) and now R1.1bn sits in an SAA bank account.”

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saa  |  vuyani jarana  |  state-owned enterprises


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