Former SAA CEO claims Gigaba had undermined board members' authority

Former SAA CEO claims Gigaba had undermined board members' authority

Ex-CEO at South African Airways, Sizakele Mzimela, has claimed that six board members had resigned together after Malusi Gigaba undermined their authority. The former SAA boss was testifying at the Zondo Commission of Inquiry into State Capture.

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Sizakele Mzimela claims that former Public Enterprises Minister Malusi Gigaba was behind the airline's near-crisis after falling out with Cheryl Carolus, who had been chairperson at SAA in 2012.

The former CEO testified that Gigaba had insisted the board should drop the Johannesburg-Mumbai route, so that Gupta-linked Jet Airways could take it over, causing tensions with the board after the motion was rejected.

Mzimela claimed that the ex-minister had tried to force SAA and the board to drop the route, despite it not making sense to do so. After clashes with the board Mzimela claims Gigaba had begun undermining the board's authority:

“And equally they were disturbed by that they were professionals who were now being portrayed as people who did not governance in the public space."

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The former CEO had also wanted to throw in the towel at this point, but Carolus had reportedly pleaded with her to stay:

“Ms Carolus, who was the chair before resignation, then convinces me, saying ‘Please, you need to stay in the interest of the stability of the organisation'."

EWN reports that after the board members had resigned, SAA had announced that it would indeed be cutting the route in 2015.

Meanwhile, reports that former president Jacob Zuma will be testifying at the Zondo Commission later in July, after weeks of speculation over his attendance.

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