Ceo of SA Express, Siza Mzimela, is leaving the troubled carrier to “pursue other opportunities” according to a statement issued this afternoon by the board of directors.
Current acting gm: Human Capital, for SAX, Thuli Mpse, has been appointed acting ceo, effective Wednesday (April 1).
Siza joined SA Express 18 months ago as interim ceo following her role as a member of the intervention team entrusted with the task of reviving the airline after it had been grounded.
“In that time, the board and management, made huge strides to restore the airline. All malfeasance that led to the corrosion of governance structures was eradicated,” reads the statement from the SA Express board.
To ensure that the role of permanent ceo is filled, the board put forward a recommendation of three names to the shareholders about a year ago and is still awaiting a response.
Meanwhile, the ultimate fate of the carrier – which has been placed under business rescue – remains unclear as the business rescue practitioners, Phahlani Mkhombo and Daniel Terblanche, have recommended liquidation following the airline’s decision to shut down flights from March 18 until further notice amid the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The BRPs maintain that this further added to the financial woes of the airline.
“We have [therefore] come to the conclusion that a reasonable prospect to rescue the Company no longer exists and, consequently, we will begin a process to convert the current business rescue proceedings of the Company into liquidation... with immediate effect,” the BRPs said in letter to employees last week.
Last week, Democratic Alliance Shadow Minister for Public Enterprises, Ghaleb Cachalia, welcomed the recommendation by the BRPs that SA Express be liquidated.
“This is long overdue. Despite successive government bailouts amounting to R1,5 billion received by SA Express over the past two years, the airline is insolvent, as its current liabilities exceed its current assets by R374 million during its 2019 financial year,” he said.