SAA CEO quits over lack of State support

JOHANNESBURG — South African Airways (SAA) chief executive officer Vuyani Jarana quit the financially stricken State-owned company, citing a lack of funding and drop in government support for the carrier’s turnaround plan.

The former Vodacom Group executive was brought in about 18 months ago to lead a recovery at the airline, which has been unprofitable since 2011 and mired in mismanagement and corruption scandals.

But a lack of clarity on State funding and the slow nature of decision-making processes persuaded him to resign, according to a letter sent to SAA chairman Johannes Bhekumuzi Magwaza seen by Bloomberg.

“Lack of commitment to fund SAA is systematically undermining the implementation of the strategy, making it increasingly difficult to succeed,” the letter said.
Finance minister Tito Mboweni has made it clear that the government was reluctant to approve a further outlay, saying he favours shutting down the company.

Calls made to Jarana’s mobile phone went straight to voicemail, while SAA spokesman Tlali Tlali said a statement would be issued later. The resignation was first reported by the Fin24 website.

“The SAA board is dealing with the CEO matter,” Public Enterprises minister Pravin Gordhan said by text message.

The move highlights the extent of the challenge facing South African President Cyril Ramaphosa, who has pledged to clean up State companies and restore their financial health as he started a new five-year term.


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