After years of corruption and mismanagement SAA is technically bankrupt, with its debt of R15 billion significantly exceeding its assets.
This SAA’s financial situation is so dire, the City Press reported that the airline is now considering selling off some of its assets, including its catering arm, Air Chefs, and SAA Cargo.
Despite this gloomy financial outlook, the government ruled out the possibility that the airline would be privatised or placed under business rescue.
Instead, the government is banking on a new turnaround plan, which started with the appointment of Vuyani Jarana as the SAA’s new CEO.
Jarana spent the past 20 years in the telecommunications market, and before heading up the SAA in November 2017 served as Vodacom’s chief officer of its enterprise business.
Considering Jarana’s strong telecommunications background, it is not surprising that he looked at people in this industry, who he can trust, to help him to execute his turnaround strategy.
After Jarana took over at SAA, former Vodacom FTTx managing executive Louisa van Beek was appointed as the company’s new “Head Change Hub”.
Vuyiswa Raseroka, the airline’s interim general manager for human resources, also has a strong telecoms background – having worked at Vodacom and Telkom.
The latest high-level appointment was that of former Telkom CFO Deon Fredericks, who will serve as the SAA’s interim chief financial officer.
Like Jarana, Fredericks is a telecommunications veteran who held senior positions at Telkom since 1993.
This means that the two top executives at the airline are telecoms executives, who spent the past two decades in the telecoms market.