Gigaba: Jarana appointment first step in turning SAA around

Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba says Vuyani Jarana turned around a loss-making Vodacom subsidiary, Vodacom Business Africa and believes he’ll be key in doing the same for SAA.

Vuyani Jarana. Picture: Vodacom

CAPE TOWN - Treasury says Vodacom executive Vuyani Jarana will start work as South African Airways’ new chief executive as soon as he’s released by his current employers.

The 46-year-old’s appointment was approved by Cabinet at its meeting on Wednesday.

Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba says Jarana turned around a loss-making Vodacom subsidiary, Vodacom Business Africa and believes he’ll be key in doing the same for SAA.

The announcement comes ahead of Friday's meeting of Parliament’s Standing Committee on Finance where SAA will be reporting on its first quarter results, amid indications that the airline has run out of cash

Gigaba believes new Jarana’s track record stands him in good stead to fix the country’s ailing national airline.
His spokesperson, Mayihlome Tshwete says: “Upon the affirmation of Mr Jarana’s (appointment) to SAA, Minister Gigaba said this is an important step in giving stability to SAA and turning the company around."

SAA’s first quarter results suggest its losses are mounting, putting a question mark over its viability.

The Democratic Alliance’s shadow Deputy Finance Minister Alf Lees says: “Their quarterly report shows a loss for the first three months of the (financial) year – that’s April, May and June – of R1,5 billion. On average that means they’re losing R500m every single month.”

Lees says Jarana has an impressive record in business and that the party wishes him well, but says SAA poses challenges that are "much bigger than Mr Jarana has ever faced before".

Gigaba, his deputy and the SAA board will be briefing Parliament’s Standing Committee on Finance on Friday.

(Edited by Zinhle Nkosi)