19/10/2017 06:52 SAST | Updated 19/10/2017 06:52 SAST

New SAA Board: Gigaba Fought For Myeni's Removal

The finance minister reportedly negotiated heavily with Cabinet for the changes he wanted, including Dudu Myeni's removal.

Rogan Ward / Reuters
Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba.

Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba battled to persuade Cabinet to accept the names for a new SAA board on Wednesday, Fin24 reported. The airline has a new board that is expected to be officially announced on Thursday. This includes a new chairperson, ending the reign of controversial chair, Dudu Myeni.

Independent Online (IOL) reported that sources claimed it took "extensive" negotiating on Gigaba's part to get the board that he wanted, but especially to have Myeni removed.

The new SAA chairperson is JB Magwaza, and his deputy is Nolith Fakuda.

According to Fin24, the new board members are:

Geoff Rothschild, Ahmed Bassa, Tinyiko Mhlari and Martin Kingston. Bassa is reportedly an aviation expert.

According to Fin24, Gigaba came under pressure from Parliament's standing committee on finance to appoint an aviation expert. He reportedly told MPs in August that Treasury was in the process of recruiting an expert.

IOL reported that Gigaba had assured creditors that he would replace Myeni. The committee's chairperson, Yunus Carrim, reportedly said at a committee meeting in October: "The SAA's Annual General Meeting (AGM) should be held on 3 November as proposed by Treasury, and the current board chairperson's term should end with the AGM. People with appropriate aviation experience and expertise should be appointed to the board, management strengthened and allegations of corruption should be tackled speedily."

According to Business Day, the board changes are expected to be made official at an SAA AGM in November, although it is unclear if this will happen, as SAA has not submitted financial statements and an AGM cannot take place until it has done so.

Business Day also reported that Gigaba was under pressure to remove Myeni, whose term ended in August but was extended until November.

The paper reported that a recent board assessment was scathing of Myeni's conduct. Gigaba also commissioned his own board assessment, according to reports.