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By Nicholas Zaal

Digital Journalist

SAA advertises for CEO position after scrapping of Takatso deal

This follows the SAA's failed Takatso sale and a portfolio committee's call for the SIU to investigate alleged irregularities in the deal.

South African Airways (SAA) is looking to bring stability to its interim executive management team by advertising five positions for permanent posts, including that of chief executive officer.

This follows the national carrier’s failure last month to land a 51% share sale to the Takatso consortium.

ALSO READ: Gordhan warns DA MP not to threaten him over SAA deal

SAA released a statement on Monday saying it had advertised these positions over the past weekend.

“As the pursuit of this transaction with Takatso Aviation has now been terminated, the board has deemed it necessary to have a properly constituted and permanent executive team to pilot the airline’s strategic plan into the future,” the airline’s statement read.

Gordhan ‘leaving SAA to his friends’

Following this announcement, United Democratic Movement president, Bantu Holomisa, said retiring Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan “wants to leave his friends to run SAA”.

“He should just focus on packing his suitcases/bags and allow the incoming minister to rebuild SAA,” Holomisa said.

SAA stated it had been run by a talented and committed interim executive management team over the past three years that had been tasked with managing the airline until a strategic equity partner could come on board.

But the failed deal necessitated this change, it said.

“The filling of these posts is a positive and decisive step aimed at providing organisational stability and predictable direction of the growth plans and expansion plans currently being pursued”, said Derek Hanekom, chairperson of the SAA interim board of directors.

“The interim executive management team has admirably rebuilt the airline as it emerged out of business rescue with the understanding that their posts would remain interim positions until a new controlling shareholder appoints its management team.”

ALSO READ: Gordhan must do ‘what he feels has to be done’, says Ntshavheni on SAA-Takatso legal threat

‘A necessary and natural step’

“All of them, including the interim CEO, Prof John Lamola, supports this development as a necessary and natural step in strengthening SAA’s position in both the local and international aviation markets,” Hanekom said.

“SAA’s strong recovery would not have been possible without the dedication and passion of every single valued SAA employee.

“The commitment of all employees who serve as the backbone of the airline and who believe in the growth of SAA is highly appreciated by the SAA board.” added Hanekom.

Applications for SAA’s Chief Executive Officer, Chief Commercial Officer, Chief Human Capital Officer, South African Airways Technical CEO, and Air Chefs CEO closes on Friday 26 April 2024.

The airline said suitably qualified and interested candidates, including the present incumbents, are invited to apply.

Gordhan warns DA MP not to threaten him

Facing the Portfolio Committee on Public Enterprises, Gordhan on Sunday warned a DA member of the committee not to “threaten” him.

The committee is looking into the failed Takatso deal, including the allegation from former Public Enterprises director-general Kgathatso Tlhakudi that Gordhan handpicked Takatso for the deal.

Although Gordhan insists the proposed sale of SAA was above board, the parliamentary committee in March called for the SIU to investigate irregularities in the deal.  

To this, Gordhan threatened legal action if the matter was referred to the SIU.

Additional reporting by: Gareth Cotterell.