Six interim board members announced for embattled SAA

The department of public enterprises has announced the appointment of six interim board members for SAA. File photo.
The department of public enterprises has announced the appointment of six interim board members for SAA. File photo.
Image: Jacques Stander/Gallo Images

The public enterprises department (DPE) on Wednesday announced the appointment of six non-executive directors to the interim board of SAA.

The department said it was delighted that these experienced professionals had agreed to join the board of SAA. Their combination of academic, financial, legal, and aviation experience, with a deep knowledge of global aviation and transport trends, would bring a new perspective as the national carrier prepares to relaunch next year, the department said.

“Their appointment also enhances the independence and balance of the board, while continuing the process of transformation and renewal. [They] will restore proper governance and oversight of the airline during the implementation of a business rescue plan,” the department said.

Geoff Qhena, who is appointed as chairperson, is a qualified chartered account and a seasoned finance executive, a former CEO of the Industrial Development Corporation, where he was at the helm for 13 years.

Peter Tshisevhe is a mergers and acquisitions lawyer with extensive experience in transaction advisory services. He is a director and partner at TGR Attorneys, a leading commercial law firm in Johannesburg, and a part-time lecturer at Wits University law school. He is retained from the previous board to provide continuity.

June Crawford, who leads the Aviation Working Group of the South African Business Council, is a leading aviation and tourism leader and professional. She has been the CEO of the board of Airlines Representatives of South Africa, director at the Air Traffic and Navigation Services, and deputy chairperson of the Tourism Council of South Africa.

Bembe Zwane is an aviation entrepreneur who is a part-owner in an aviation training solutions provider, a car rental business, and an aviation logistics business. She is a former executive at Imperial Logistics and Equity Aviation.

Prof Edna van Harte is an academic and former dean of the faculty of Military Science at the South African National Defence Force's military academy at Saldanha Bay and former chairperson of the Defence Service Commission. She has served on various boards and commissions.

Nick Fadugba is an aviation professional with many years consulting and promoting aviation development on the African continent, including leading the African Airlines Association. He has served as the chairperson of the African Business Aviation Association and has been involved in discussions on a Single African Air Transport Market.

“In charting the way forward, the DPE believes the key to solving the difficulties facing SAA is the finalisation and implementation of the business rescue process, followed by the start of a restructured airline; appointment of a leadership team; and securing a credible strategic equity partner who can introduce the required technical, financial and operational expertise into the business,” the department added.

“The new airline will be run in a professional and sustainable manner to support key economic sectors – including tourism, trade with the continent, the local aeronautics industries, and local service providers.”

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