SAA top management on charm offensive


Against a background of “difficult industry operating conditions” top South African Airways (SAA) management have gone on a charm offensive, targeting management teams and union representatives.

Acting chair Dudu Myeni and acting chief executive Nico Bezuidenhout are trying “to deliver a winning long term strategy” for the airline, a statement said.

The national carrier is working with its sole shareholder, government, to create a better future in terms of operations and human resources.

Myeni thanked staff for their good work in difficult operating conditions characterised by increased competition and rising fuel prices.

Earlier this week acting chief executive Vuyisle Kona was placed on precautionary suspension while allegations against him are investigated. While SAA made no official comment some media have intimated the suspension could involve the Public Finance Management Act.

Contraventions of this Act have been cited as the major reason for the cancellation of the South African Air Force (SAAF)/Aero Manpower Group (AMG) maintenance contract. Unless drastic measures are implemented when the contract expires at the end of March, a large percentage of the SAAF fleet could be grounded.

SAAF Deputy Chief Major General Jerry Malinga earlier this month said the airborne arm of the South African National Defence Force would take “some serious knocks” when the AMG contract ended but was confident maintenance capabilities will be built to fill the gap. The SAAF/AMG contract affects more than 500 specialist aircraft engineers and technicians.

The elevation of Bezuidenhout, chief executive of Mango, SAA’s low-cost carrier, to acting SAA Group Chief Executive, was done in the interests of business continuity, Myeni said.
“At the same time his appointment will ensure optimal understanding and appreciation of SAA’s commercial challenges within the top leadership of the airline during this transitional period,” she said.