SAA to announce new CEO soon: Gigaba

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Midrand - South African Airways (SAA) is likely to announce a new chief executive officer by the end of the month, Public Enterprises Minister Malusi Gigaba said on Thursday.

“The appointment of a new CEO is underway. We should make an announcement by the end of March,” said Gigaba.

The minister was speaking following his address to the Supplier Development Summit in Midrand.

On Monday, the Department of Public Works announced that acting CEO Vuyisile Kona -- who had been placed on precautionary suspension -- has been removed from the board of the airline following a shareholders’ meeting.

Gigaba adopted a resolution to remove Kona from the board following the convening of the meeting, in terms of section 71 of the Companies Act.

The minister considered it prudent and in the interest of SAA that there be stability and cohesion in the leadership of the airline.

Kona, who had been placed in the position of acting CEO, was placed on precautionary suspension in February.

On Thursday, Gigaba said that come the end of March, the SAA board will furnish him with a draft turnaround strategy for the airline. The strategy, he said, had been discussed at great length. 

“I am awaiting those two submissions [at the end of the month],” he said.

In his address at the two-day summit, Gigaba said the summit had been convened to pronounce government’s policy intentions and programmes in terms of what government intends to do to move the South African economy and its transformation to the next level.

While the growth of the world economy had weakened, the South African economy itself had also slowed down.

“The South African economy has itself slowed down, reflecting our integration into the global economy,” said Gigaba, adding that a weak manufacturing base and the fact that South Africa was a “price taker” in global markets also played a part.

Gigaba called for the expansion of manufacturing capabilities to improve not just the rate of productivity in the economy as a whole, but to increase the positive social development impact that would result from labour absorption.

“The immediate economic need for us is to develop our capital goods manufacturing capabilities so that we reduce our dependency on imports, because an increase in equipment imports is associated with the deterioration of our balance of the payment of the current account, which is now standing at - 6.2%.”

Additionally, government and the Department of Public Enterprises (DPE) were committed to investment, productivity and transformation in State-Owned Companies (SOCs), their customers and their suppliers to unlock growth, drive industrialisation, create jobs and develop skills

The DPE launched the Competitive Supplier Development Programme (CSDP) in 2008 to ensure that key SOCs systematically plan and execute their procurement programmes to promote investment in skills, technology and the development of new capabilities in existing, emerging and new suppliers.

This is to drive the growth, industrialisation and the fundamental transformation of the economy.  

“The demand created by the SOCs in their investment programmes and through their operational spend plays a pivotal role in either promoting or inhibiting investment in their supply chains,” he said.

State entities are government instruments which deliver on economic growth and meet social objectives of the country, with their supplier development programmes being a strategic objective of state ownership of these enterprises.

Power parastatal Eskom has leveraged commitments of over R1.2 billion in investment in manufacturing capacity by suppliers, R644 million of which has been invested. 

Transnet, meanwhile, has entered into contracts valued at R14 billion, containing supplier development commitments of R5.4 billion, R2.9 billion of which has been delivered to date. -