SAA CEO Vuyani Jarana has resigned, and will officially leave the national carrier on August 31, 2019 when his notice period is over.
According to his resignation letter to SAA board chairperson JB Magwaza, the CEO unpacked how uncertainty about funding and slow decision making processes were delaying the airline’s turnaround strategy.
“The strategy is being systemically undermined, and as the Group Chief Executive Officer, I can no longer be able to assure the board and the public that the LTTS is achievable,” he said.
Jarana was appointed CEO in November 2017 and had the challenging task of bringing back the airline to financial health. At the time of his appointment, SAA had R9.2bn in debt that was maturing on November 28, 2017. The airline also had a turnaround plan, which had not yet been implemented, Jarana said in his resignation letter.
Under Jarana’s watch, a revised corporate plan was developed and approved by National Treasury in March 2018. This plan required funding of R21.7bn and would see SAA breakeven by 2021.
But since 2018 there have been three incidents in which the company was unable to pay salaries due to a lack of funding, Jarana said.
“Whereas government injected R5bn of funding in the 2018/2019 financial year, a big chunk of that was used to fund creditors up to the end of March 2018.
“We have not been able to obtain any further commitment from government making it very difficult to focus on the execution of the strategy,” Jarana said.
*More to follow