OR Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg. Picture: ACSA
OR Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg. Picture: ACSA

Two Airports Company of SA (Acsa) directors, Steven Mabela and Siyakhula Simelane, have resigned from the board of the state-owned entity over what they call corporate governance issues and political interference with the work of the board.

The two directors constitute the audit and risk committee of the board. If confirmed, their resignations would mean that the board had effectively collapsed. Acsa’s memorandum of incorporation requires a minimum of three directors.

The Department of Transport has confirmed the resignations.

In his letter of resignation sent to Transport Minister Blade Nzimande on Friday, Mabela also cited the department’s alleged unresponsiveness to governance issues and other concerns he had raised with the department.

Simelane’s resignation follows a letter he wrote to Nzimande in which he expressed his concern over governance at Acsa as chairperson of the audit and risk committee, which oversees financial reporting and disclosure.

The department and the Presidency have acknowledged receipt of letters expressing concern by Acsa staff.

Transport department spokesperson Ishmael Mnisi had not responded to questions at the time of writing.

Mabela’s resignation comes after a protracted power struggle at Acsa’s board. Central to the issue is the implementation of a February 2017 board resolution to institute disciplinary steps against Acsa CEO Bongani Maseko. The resolution follows the recommendations of a forensic report by Dr VS Mncube Consulting.

Acsa hired Dr VS Mncube Consulting to investigate alleged irregularities in its supply-chain management. The firm’s report, dated August 4 2016, noted that it would be in the best interest of Acsa for Maseko and others to "be suspended or put on special leave pending the finalisation of the disciplinary proceedings, to create an environment which is conducive for a proper investigation of the charges".

In his letter to Nzimande, Mabela said the minister had brought the Acsa board into disrepute "by unsubstantiated interference or narrative" during radio interviews, during which he inferred that certain board members had "Gupta links or associations".