SAA pilots relieved 'dark days' of Myeni are over

Cape Town - The departure of South African Airways chair Dudu Myeni has come as "a welcome relief" to the national carrier's pilots, the South African Airways Pilot Association (SAAPA) said on Thursday.

Minister of Finance Malusi Gigaba officially announced on Thursday that Cabinet has approved the appointment of six new board members for SAA, including a new chairperson to replace the embattled Myeni.

She was replaced by Johannes Bhekumuzi Magwaza as new chairperson.

"We hope that the dark days of board members like Ms Myeni - allegedly acting in their own interests and not fulfilling their fiduciary duties - are over," SAAPA said in a statement issued late on Thursday afternoon.

The association talks of "a turbulent period at SAA where good governance has been flouted and where (Myeni) has left nothing but debt and low morale in her wake".

SAAPA and Anti-corruption advocacy group the Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse (OUTA) intend to continue with their application to have Myeni declared a delinquent director, the statement read.

"SAAPA welcomes the new SAA chairperson and the new board appointees, and looks forward to engaging with the new board. The pilots of SAA hope this new board will act in the best interest of the airline and its employees," said SAAPA.
 
"The pilots of SAA have remained professional and dedicated to the continued safe operation of the airline during one of the most turbulent times in the airlines 80-year existence and will continue to do so."

Gigaba said earlier on Thursday that "at the heart of these appointments, is a commitment from the South African government to strengthen the airline, and create conditions to see the transformation of all our state-owned companies".

The changes will be effective from November 3 2017, when Gigaba is set to have a special meeting with the new board.

The DA said the question remains where Gigaba is going to find the R10bn that is required to meet the R5.2bn already paid to SAA for loans and working capital, as well as the R4.8bn required as working capital to keep the airline trading until the end of the 2017/18 financial year.

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