Government announces interim CEO for low-flying SAA

Isaac Mahlangu Senior reporter
Broke airline SAA has appointed an interim CEO.
Broke airline SAA has appointed an interim CEO.
Image: SAA

The department of public enterprises (DPE) has announced an interim CEO of SAA after creditors voted in favour of its business rescue plan. 

Phillip Saunders will take over the embattled state airliner which is expected to start running next year as a restructured smaller and profitable business. This comes as 86% of the creditors voted in favour of the move to restructure the airline and retrench more than 2,000 employees. The department has described Saunders as "an experienced airline executive with a strong commercial background."

Public enterprises minister Pravin Gordhan's spokesperson Sam Mkokeli said they welcomed and applauded the vote by creditors which was in favour of a business rescue plan for SAA. "The DPE believes that the favourable vote is a much better outcome for creditors and SAA employees than liquidation, and the government remains confident that the:implementation of the business rescue plan will balance the rights and interests of all parties.%," Mkokeli said.

 "The priorities for the DPE are now to give effect to funding commitments by the government for the business rescue plan, appoint a new and reconfigured interim board for SAA." 

Last week, SAA unions with the exception of the SAA Pilots Association agreed and accepted the voluntary severance packages which the department will fund at a tune of R2.2bn. Mkokeli said Saunders will work closely with the interim board to appoint an interim management team that must implement a fundamental restructuring of SAA led by the new interim board.

"In supporting the plan, the government is committed to mobilising the necessary resources to fund the transition. This includes the Voluntary Severance Packages (VSPs) agreed with the unions, and meet the minimum requirements of the Labour Relations Act and Basic Conditions of Employment Act," Mkokeli said. 

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