Celliers, who describes himself as a “banker, nature lover and aviation enthusiast with an innate desire to take things apart and put them back together again, only better than before” says on Twitter he is turning his back on SAA because of the state airline’s “abusive practices”, adding that he will seek “honourable” alternatives.
BusinessTech reports that it might have been the M-Net’s Carte Blanche programme on Sunday evening that sparked the Tweet. Carte Blanche ran a special feature on SAA and its financial mismanagement and maladministration.
The report showed how the state carrier has effectively failed as a business, requiring government bailouts to pay off its debts. Last month, finance minister Malusi Gigaba approved a R2.2 billion bailout from the state’s emergency fund, with around R6.8 billion still needed.
At the center of SAA’s issues is chairperson, Dudu Myeni, a known friend of president Jacob Zuma, who has stayed long past her mandated tenure, and is said to be behind many dodgy contracts and wrong turns at the company.
Reports have said the airline is effectively bankrupt, having run out of cash, and may struggle to pay salaries in the coming months.
It was reported that SAA would need as much as R1.8 billion to stay operational – even before looking at around R6.8 billion needed to pay its debts.
Celliers is the latest big-business executive to take a public stand against the alleged corruption and maladministration in state businesses. Other business leaders have spoken out or have joined up with civil groups like Save SA, calling for an end to state capture at state companies.
In April last year FNB, along with a number of other financial institutions closed the company accounts of Oakbay Investments, a company controlled by the Gupta family.