The second major resignation to hit Mzansi’s state-owned entities in two weeks has rocked South African Airways (SAA). After Phakamani Hadebe walked away from Eskom, Vuyani Jarana has now officially quit his role too, according to Sunday reports. He will serve out his notice period until the end of July.
Who is Vuyani Jarana?
Tasked with turning around the ill-fortunes of the airline, Jarana has had to negotiate tough operating conditions and several constraints. SAA have received numerous government bailouts in the past few years, and life at the top is apparently becoming too much for the outgoing CEO.
In a resignation letter obtained by Fin24, Jarana has given his reasons for stepping down. He cites a lack of long-term sustainability and the inability of the company to pay wages for pushing him overboard. According to the letter, staff have failed to receive their pay on three separate occasions:
“The strategy is being systemically undermined, and as the Group Chief Executive Officer, I can no longer be able to assure the board and the public that [our strategy] is achievable.”
“Whereas the government injected R5bn of funding in the 2018/2019 financial year, a big chunk of that was used to fund creditors up to the end of March 2018.”
Why the SAA CEO has quit the job
We also understand that Jarana was frustrated by the red tape that accompanies the top job. He had previously complained of a three-tier referral system for issues that required urgent action and wasn’t happy with SAA’s ability to compete in the market.
Jarana began his work as CEO is November 2017, and was hoping to lead the airline to financial stability “within four years”. However, his premature departure means that he will not be there to oversee the plans he had to make SAA break even by 2021. His official last day will be on Wednesday 31 July.