Nico Bezuidenhout. Picture: FREDDY MAVUNDA
Nico Bezuidenhout. Picture: FREDDY MAVUNDA

SAA has confirmed that Nico Bezuidenhout will return as CEO of its low-cost carrier, Mango Airlines.

Bezuidenhout, who resigned as head of Mango in 2016 to join pan-African airline Fastjet, will again take over the helm at Mango in October, said SAA, the loss-making state-owned carrier.

The SAA board supported his appointment, it said.

“This latest appointment of a permanent CEO at Mango is a further step in stabilising leadership and strengthening the executive capacity of the group,” SAA said.

Nico Bezuidenhout speaks to Business Day TV about his decision to leave Fastjet and return to Mango as the airline's CEO.

“We are pleased to welcome Nico Bezuidenhout back into the SAA group,” said chair JB Magwaza. “His appointment will advance the implementation of the turnaround strategy of SAA group.”

Ratings agencies have cited state-owned enterprises, including Eskom and SAA, among the major risks to the sustainability of SA’s finances. This has led to calls for them to be privatised, even if only partly so.

Finance minister Tito Mboweni previously suggested that SAA should be closed down as it is “unlikely that you are going to find any private sector equity partner who will come join this asset”.

But President Cyril Ramaphosa has shot down that idea, saying: “We disagree with the view that the most effective and efficient way to provide services to our people is through the private sector.”

hedleyn@businesslive.co.za