Wed. Jul 24th, 2019

All eyes on Pravin Gordhan to save the nose-diving SAA

A bad way to kick off another five years as Minister of Public Enterprises.

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Minister of Public Enterprises, Pravin Gordhan, will be expected to step back into his portfolio and act swiftly to the recent changes in leadership at the South African Airways (SAA).

As reported by the Citizen, the resignation of two senior members from the struggling airline and Eskom has increased fears of instability and another potential financial collapse for the state-owned enterprises (SOE).

Why did Vuyani Jarana resign from SAA role?

Vuyani Jarana, the outgoing chief executive officer (CEO) of the airline, announced his resignation in a scathing four-page letter.

Related: Vuyani Jarana: Why the SAA CEO has handed in his resignation

In it, he cited bureaucratic issues and hinted at heavy political interference as his main reason for vacating his position.

He placed a lot of blame on the National Treasury, as well as Gordhan’s department, for failing to realise that the processes in place to action the turnaround strategy were not working to the advantage of SAA.

“It is impossible to succeed in a turnaround with the current level of bureaucracy we have to go through to implement the strategy.

“Currently, SAA must obtain approval of DPE [department of public enterprises] and National Treasury to implement some of the key decisions, [which] takes away the agility required for an entity in financial distress, an ICU case,” Jarana noted.

ANC calls on Pravin Gordhan to save the situation

The ANC, responding to questions about the perceived instability in the senior leadership of the national airline, stated that it has entrusted Gordhan with all the support he needs to find a balance and maintain order at SAA.

Related: Taxpayers, prepare to foot SAA’s R1.1-billion bill to Comair

The party’s spokesperson, Pule Mabe, confirmed that the Public Enterprises Minister is “expected to pay special attention to the issues of leadership and stability in our national carrier”.

However, according to the minister’s spokesperson, Adrian Lackay, the issue of resignations of high-ranking figures like Jarana is a matter for the airline’s board to deal with.

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