The Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse (Outa) vowed to proceed with plans to have re-appointed South African Airways (SAA) chair Dudu Myeni, and other colleagues on the outgoing board, declared delinquent in terms of the Companies Act.
Responding to the long-awaited appointment of the new SAA board, Outa chairperson Wayne Duvenage said government as the shareholder should have taken the opportunity to get rid of Myeni, Duvenage said Outa believes “she should be held accountable and largely responsible for the poor governance and performance issues that have transpired at SAA over the past few years.”
He said a number of significant and questionable actions combined with loss-making performances have taken place under Myeni’s watch, which has cost the taxpayer several billions of rands in bailouts over recent years. Accordingly, the airline is currently facing huge pressure from various institutions to release financial reports to provide grounds of its solvency.
While concerned about the retention of Myeni, Outa welcomed the appointment of the new board. It said it hopes the new board would rectify the extremely poor performance of SAA, and turn it around into the profitable organisation it once was, “but with Myeni as the chair we expect challenges to abound.”
Outa said SAA would only return to profitability if it appoints talented executive directors and called on the national carrier to re-appoint some of those senior executives who have been “purged”, naming former head of HR, Thuli Mpshe, former head of treasury, Cynthia Stimpel and former head of commercial, Sylvain Bosc. Outa said all of them were suspended for standing their ground against the questionable conduct of the previous board.
“Bosc was recently cleared of all charges against him. We believe that Mpshe and Stimpel will also be cleared of the charges against them. These good people were purged from the airline as a result of their morally-courageous stances taken against the dubious conduct of senior management. Even if the new board does not reappoint these people, and others such as Wolf Meyer and Nico Bezuidenhout who also recently left under duress, they would be wise to interview them in order to gain insight into the questionable conduct of the past,” Duvenage said.
Outa said it hopes the new board will also dig deep to uncover past and present corruption and maladministration. “A thorough review of many contracts should be undertaken and note should be taken of the findings from the 2015 Ernst & Young audit, which will go a long way to shining some light on this scourge within the airline,” Outa director of legal affairs Ivan Herselman said.
Outa said the announcement of a new board does not change its current investigation into the serious transgressions and other management issues at SAA. “We will continue with our investigations, and call on the new SAA board to equally use all avenues and powers available to them, to root out corruption and maladministration within the airline.”
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