South African Airlines chairman resigns

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Johannes Bhekumuzi Magwaza has resigned from his position as South African Airway’s chairman, the country’s Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan announced on Thursday, the second senior figure at the struggling airline to leave this year.

In a briefing to parliament, Gordhan said that Magwaza had quit for personal reasons, without giving any details.

A ministry official said Magwaza, who was appointed in 2017, would leave the national carrier at the end of July.

His resignation follows that of CEO Vuyani Jarana who quit in June, saying his turnaround strategy for the loss-making airline was being undermined by a lack of state funding and too much bureaucracy.

The departures of the officials from their roles in SAA pose challenges to the airline’s quest to overcome a lengthy run of loss-making.

SAA is reported not to have made a profit since 2011.

The carrier has however formulated a five-year turnaround plan that includes slashing costs and cancelling unprofitable routes as it grapples with cost increases that far outstrip revenue growth.

President Cyril Ramaphosa also last month announced a plan to introduce reforms in state-owned firms, including SAA, in a bid to get them back on the right track economically.

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