Business Day

Sky­wise’s Ma­lik could head up Mango

- ANDISWA MAQUTU Trans­port Writer maqutua@bdfm.co.za Business · South African Airways · London · Dudu Myeni · Jacob Zuma · Pravin Gordhan · Skywise Airlines · Mango · Fastjet

JOINT chair­per­son of cash-strapped Sky­wise Air­lines, Javed Ma­lik, is a fron­trun­ner to fill the po­si­tion of CEO of Mango Air­lines, South African Air­ways’ low-cost sub­sidiary.

This is the first time that Mango has had to find a new CEO since it was founded in 2006, fol­low­ing the res­ig­na­tion of its long­time head, Nico Bezuiden­hout.

Bezuiden­hout ef­fec­tively re­signed from the po­si­tion at the end of July to head up Fast­jet, the Lon­don-listed low-cost car­rier that fo­cuses on Africa. He has twice been the act­ing CEO of SAA and clashed re­peat­edly with SAA chair­woman Dudu Myeni, who is a close friend of Pres­i­dent Ja­cob Zuma.

Last month, Busi­ness Day re­ported that Myeni was lob­by­ing to place former Busi­ness Unity SA CE Jerry Vi­lakazi as CEO at Mango, as a pre­cur­sor to him be­com­ing the next CEO of SAA. How­ever, Vi­lakazi de­nied this.

New­comer and low-cost air­line Sky­wise was launched in Fe­bru­ary last year, but was grounded by Air­ports Com­pany SA in De­cem­ber for fail­ure to pay R4m in air­port fees re­lat­ing to the land­ing, take-off and park­ing of air­craft and re­lated ser­vice charges.

The cash-strapped com­pany has made a num­ber of at­tempts to se­cure fund­ing to pay off its debts and fund its op­er­a­tions.

In De­cem­ber, the Fi­nan­cial Ser­vices Board shot down Sky­wise’s at­tempt at a crowd-fund­ing scheme, when it set up a web­site on which it of­fered 1,500 shares at R100,000 each and gave po­ten­tial in­vestors three days to buy in with­out first view­ing the air­line’s share prospec­tus — a con­tra­ven­tion of the Com­pa­nies Act.

On Wed­nes­day, Sky­wise said in a state­ment that it was in the fi­nal stages of a share­holder deal with a new in­vestor, a pro­moter of new com­mer­cial air­craft.

Mango board chair Rashid Wally said no of­fer had been made to Ma­lik for the po­si­tion of CEO. He said he had met with Ma­lik a few times to get to know him.

The process of ap­point­ing a new per­ma­nent CEO could take three to six months and would still re­quire Fi­nance Min­is­ter Pravin Gord­han’s ap­proval. “It is a chal­lenge fill­ing the po­si­tion of CEO. It is eas­ier to fill in other in­dus­tries, but there is a scarcity of avi­a­tion ex­pe­ri­ence,” he said.

Ma­lik would not say if he had re­ceived an of­fer from Mango. How­ever, he said he had re­signed from Sky­wise to pur­sue “much more chal­leng­ing roles in the in­dus­try”.

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