Home News Shake-up at S.Africa’s debt-laden state airline

Shake-up at S.Africa’s debt-laden state airline

Published on 19/10/2017

The South African government on Thursday removed the head of troubled state-owned airline South African Airways (SAA), which is deeply in debt and struggling to stay in the air.

Chairwoman Dudu Myeni, a close ally of President Jacob Zuma, will be replaced by Johannes Bhekumuzi Magwaza, the finance ministry announced in a boardroom sweep-out.

Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba “hopes that the new board… will implement the airline’s structural strategy and bring it to financial stability,” it said in a statement.

The government was last month forced to bail out the loss-making carrier to avoid it defaulting on a 3 billion-rand ($221 million) loan, and refinancing of further debt is under negotiation.

Opposition parties have said the airline’s poor management and mounting debts are symptomatic of the ANC government led by Zuma.

Myeni “has done untold damage to SAA,” the opposition Democratic Alliance party said.

“This restructuring of the SAA board and the removal of Myeni is far too little, too late to save the airline.”

Gigaba described the new board as having “vast and in-depth knowledge of business in both the private and public sectors”.