Ngqula deal no secret to Mabandla

Minister of Public Enterprises Brigitte Mabandla was fully aware of the negotiated financial settlement reached between former SAA chief executive officer Khaya Ngqula and the board.

This emerged in parliament yesterday as the portfolio committee on public enterprises grilled the airline's chairman, Prof Jakes Gerwel, and its acting chief executive, Chris Smythe.

The two were questioned over the termination of Ngqula's contract. This was shortly after he had been placed on leave pending an investigation into, among other things, issues around retention bonuses, conflict of interest over tenders and procurement.

Barely a week after reaching the agreement, however, Cabinet rejected it "at a time when serious allegations of misconduct were being investigated".

However, it has emerged that Mabandla knew about the settlement and she will now have to answer to her Cabinet colleagues. Mabandla's spokesman Ayanda Shezi said: "The minister was aware and concurred with the settlement agreement."

She said she was not aware of what had transpired at the Cabinet meeting.