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It’s like walking into your own house after a murder scene. The choice is to go sleep in a hotel and buy a new house — or you start with wiping the floor and end up staying up all night, looking and digging, becoming a forensic investigator…" This is how economist Thabi Leoka describes arriving at SA Express on May 24 as a member of a new board tasked with cleaning up corruption and mismanagement at the airline. Later the same day, the Civil Aviation Authority grounded the state-owned airline, citing serious safety concerns. Leoka, who stresses she is speaking as an economist and not on behalf of the board, views this as a direct result of "many years of maladministration — and, in many cases, corruption". At the time SA Express was on the brink of collapse, with losses amounting to R234m. Irregular expenditure stood at R408m, mostly thanks to contracts being awarded without following procurement rules, and cash was fast running out to pay suppliers and staff salaries. What Leoka an...

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