Gigaba: I moved fast to handle SAA crisis

Minister Gigaba does damage control after six SAA board members resigned.

Public Enterprises Minister Malusi Gigaba. Picture: Sapa

CAPE TOWN - Minister of Public Enterprises Malusi Gigaba on Monday said he moved quickly to prevent a leadership vacuum and perception of a crisis at South African Airways.

Cheryl Carolus and six other board members resigned last week.

Carolus said she left to protect her reputation.

The exodus follows a delay in the tabling of the airline's financial statements in parliament.

Gigaba told the Kieno Kammies Show on Monday that he was ambushed by the sudden resignations.

"We are now focusing on the steps we need to take, finalising the discussions we're having with the National Treasury about the government guarantee for South African Airways."

Gigaba said the new board will be announced at the airline's Annual General Meeting (AGM) in October.

The Public Enterprises Ministry has been lobbying the National Treasury for a cash injection of up to R6 billion for the airline.

The ministry's spokesperson Mayihlome Tshwete said the exodus is not a crisis.

"The Minister is concerned about SAA and its economic viability, especially because it is a national asset."

The newly appointed members are Vuyisile Kona, Andile Mabizela, Andile Khumalo, Bongisizwe Mpondo, Dr Rajesh Naithani, Carol Roskruge, Raisibe Lepule and Nonhlanhla Kubeka.

Kona is the new chairman.

Meanwhile, Carolus spoke out after resigning saying there was been a breakdown in relations between the airline's board and Gigaba.

Carolus said the continued postponement of the airline's annual general meeting has caused friction between her and the minister.

"SAA did not ask for a postponement and we do not ourselves need a postponement. Our financials have been audited by the auditor."

Since the 2004/05 financial year, the government has bailed out SAA to the tune of R16.8 billion.