Pretoria: Public Enterprises Minister Malusi Gigaba on Monday announced a new board of directors of South African Express (SAX), while urging the airline to address the challenges it is facing.
The new board was announced due to the high turnover of the previous board of directors, which saw a record number of non-executive directors resign.
Speaking at the Annual General Meeting of SAX in Kempton Park, Gigaba said the financial year 2011/12 had been a tough and challenging economic year for the global airline industry and SA Express had not been immune from such challenges.
“The appointment of a new board at such challenging times in the history of the airline industry and South African Express was a necessary action which we needed to undertake. The shareholder has selected the new board based on diverse skills, expertise and experience,” explained the minister.
Although the airline had been considered the jewel of the minister’s portfolio with consistent reported profits, the past year had seen a drastic decline in, among others, performance, brand and reputation management as well as internal controls.
“I encourage the Board to provide leadership on the matters I have alluded to and build the company to sustainable levels. I am of the view that in accepting to serve on SA Express Board, you will fully apply your minds and hands-on approach that is required,” said the minister, adding that the department would lend its support to the board.
The airline needed to regain its reputation in the market and seek to capture new opportunities and markets in the region.
The failure of the company to present audited financial statements at Monday’s meeting was irregular, the meeting said unanimously. The irregularities relate to non-compliance, miss-statement of financial statements and evidence provided to the Auditors which, in their opinion, did not meet the auditing standards. The company obtained an adverse opinion from Nkonki Auditors. Additionally, the meeting appointed new auditors.
“The appointment of external auditors is subject to annual review at the annual general meeting by the shareholder. Similarly the Board is appointed for a three year term subject to the annual review,” said the department.
The Auditor General has been appointed to take over the audit function from Nkonki Auditors. The Auditor General will commence with the audit of the 11/12 financial year.
Gigaba also emphasised the importance of strengthening internal controls within the state-owned company, stating that “systems within the entity would have to ensure that management is aligned to the shareholders expectations and national objectives”.
The chairperson of the new board is Andile Mabizela, who has a strategy, aviation and legal background. The Board also comprises Ezrom Mabyana; Karabo Tshailane-Nondumo; Neo Priscilla Moshimane; Shumani Tshifularo; Nosipho Gxumisa; George Mothemba; Noni Dibate as well as Dr. Bridget Ssamula who has been reelected on the new board for the purpose of ensuring continuity.