The minister described the resignations of the board members to have “bizarre” timing particularly that the resignations happened after prompt engagement of the board members by the minister upon learning of the media leaks.
“The Minister condemns, in the strongest terms, the leakage of confidential government information,” said his department.
“In light of the resignations and the imminence of their effect, I have exercised my powers in terms of section 60 of the Companies Act, acting in my capacity as the sole shareholder representative. I accepted all the resignations,” he explained.
Vuyisile Kona; Andile Mabizela; Andile Khumalo; Bongisizwe Mpondo; Dr Rajesh Naithani; Carol Roskruge; Raisibe Lepule and Nonhlanhla Kubeka have been appointed as the new board members. Kona has been appointed as the new chairperson.
Gigaba said that he was impelled by the best interest of the company and took into account, amongst other things, the state of the airline, the dynamics of the aviation sector and the need to redirect the airline to a path of sustained profitability when making his decision.
The minister had noted media reports of the resignation of non-executive directors of the airline.
“However unfortunate the media leak may be, the insinuation that the said media leakage was caused or orchestrated by the Minister or the Department is both mischievous and ill-conceived. The suggestion that the Minister or the Department, in the exercise of statutory duties, were actuated by malice or intention to injure the good names or reputation of the Board is equally misplaced.”
The media leakage, said Gigaba was an abuse of free speech and the openness of our society.
“It was always anticipated that the terms of the majority of Board members would come to an end at the upcoming annual general meeting scheduled for 15 October 2012.”
In any event, it is a condition of appointment of the affected board members that their appointment is subject to review by the Minister annually and that prior to any AGM, if changes to the board are anticipated, the Minister would consult and obtain the concurrence of Cabinet, which he did on 19 September 2012.
“I have no doubt that they have the capacity to assist government in propelling the airline to greater heights,” he said of the new board.