Defend Truth


SAA is worse off following Kwinana’s resignation comments


Wayne Duvenage is a businessman and entrepreneur turned civil activist. Following former positions as CEO of AVIS and President of SA Vehicle Renting and Leasing Association, Duvenage has headed the Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse since its inception in 2012.

While Yakhe Kwinana’s resignation from the Board of South African Airways could be regarded as a good outcome for the airline; still, her statements and reasons provided for her decision could have a serious negative impact on the airline’s financial income and may even lead to the loss of hundreds of jobs.

On Wednesday, Kwinana told CityPress, “It has come to a stage where I had to weigh the risks of staying…” If SAA was liquidated with her as a director it could disqualify her from the boards of her own companies… “The bottom line is that my reputation is at stake. My professional certification is at stake.”

Well, it may be a case of too little too late for Kwinana to make those claims, especially so long after she acted and participated in a manner which contributed to a number of questionable decisions and transgressions (currently at an advanced stage of investigation by OUTA), which added to the airline’s plight. A case of “your reputation precedes you on this one, Ms Kwinana”.

Kwinana’s comment that, “I choose to resign rather than see SAA folding under my watch, 9,000 jobs being lost, because of my holding on to the position as a board member,” is both abhorrent and laughable.

She had every opportunity in her role as head of the Audit and Risk committee to take heed of the input she had received from Cynthia Stimple, and others within the company, and thereby act to reduce the costs of the airline by rejecting the BnP and other questionable deals. Instead, she was part of the board that approved unnecessary expenditure which increased the costs of the already ailing airline.

However, of greater concern is that Kwinana’s comments about the possible “liquidation” of SAA could be regarded as grossly irresponsible in that this statement will have a direct impact of deterring customers from buying advance tickets on SAA, due to a real fear that the airline may soon cease to exist.

Kwinana’s remarks therefore could have the impact of costing SAA millions in revenue loss and one wonders if her statement was made out of sheer ignorance or a deliberate intention to fan the SAA fire. Doesn’t a situation of business rescue come into consideration and play prior to the failure of the entity? Surely she must realise that when a director, who holds the position of Risk and Audit, speaks of an airline’s potential for liquidation, this has the impact of sending many travel agents and tour companies to competing airlines for their customers’ forward bookings and travel requirements?

Some might even say that comments of this nature could be construed as an act of sabotage, thereby placing many jobs in jeopardy, and as such, Kwinana’s reckless statements could be regarded as defamatory and may even lead to her being personally held accountable for the revenue losses derived from her actions.

The time has long passed for the entire current board to be swept aside and for a credible and experienced team to be placed at the helm to sort out the mess.

Maybe Kwinana should spare parting comment of apology to the tax-paying public for wasting their hard-earned taxes which are used to bail out SAA, which performed worse as a result of the questionable decisions that she was party to. DM


Please peer review 3 community comments before your comment can be posted