South African Airways (SAA) board chairman JB Magwaza has resigned barely two months after CEO Vuyani Jarana quit.

Public enterprise minister Pravin Gordhan announced Magwaza’s resignation, saying he had left for “personal reasons”. 

During his budget address on Thursday evening, Gordhan thanked Magwaza for his contribution to the embattled airline. 

“We would like to thank, the outgoing chairperson of the SAA board, Mr JB Magwaza.  Your contribution is appreciated,” Gordhan said. 

Phumulo Masualle, deputy minister of public enterprises, said during his address that the SAA’s board will be reconstituted. 

“This so to ensure it is better equipped to discharge the strategic, leadership and governance responsibilities,” Masualle said. 

Masualle said the board should work with “urgency” to address the decline in the airline and its auxiliary businesses, which would happen with the “appointment of a world-class executive leadership team with credible aviation experience”.

Masualle said the government would not allow SEOs to fail and is committed to ensuring they service and support the national developmental agenda. 

“However, the airline must undergo a rigorous and substantial process of reducing costs, improving efficiencies and strengthening its operations,” Masualle said. 

He added that a comprehensive review was being conducted of its domestic, regional and international routes to minimise losses and that noncore assets, which “distracted” management from attending to the core business, had to be disposed of. 

He said while the department understood that the state-owned airline faced immediate and urgent liquidity challenges, the real answer to their sustainability lies in stabilising their ongoing operations and preparing the entity for a strategic equity partner in the near future.