April 15, 2020: Effective April 13, Thomas Kgokolo took charge as the new interim CEO of South African Airways (SAA) by the interim board, according to Fin24.

He becomes the fifth CEO of SAA in five years.

In addition to Kgokolo, the interim board has appointed three interim executives, namely Fikile Mhlontlo as interim chief financial officer, Mpho Letlape as interim human resources executive and Captain Sakhile Reiling as executive operations.

Exactly a year ago, SAA planned to lay off its entire workforce. On March 26, acting CEO Zuks Ramasia of SAA, now the CEO of Board of Airline Representatives of South Africa (BARSA), opted for early retirement from the carrier by serving till April 14, 2020.

SAA has been in business rescue since December 2019. The rescue practitioners are finalising matters so that they can exit the process and hand the airline back to the interim board. The airline has last presented financial statement for the year 2016-2017 and later on due to the fear of liquidation it has not released the results since then.

In October 2020, South African government said that it wanted its national airline flying again in the first half of 2021, after giving it a 10.5 billion rand ($650 million) bailout in the mid-term budget.

SAA is among several South African state-owned companies to have become technically insolvent without financial assistance from the government, following years of mismanagement and corruption scandals -- particularly under the presidency of Jacob Zuma, which ended in 2018. The airline has seen at least nine chief executive officer changes in the past decade, hampering attempts at a turnaround, while responsibility for the carrier was passed from the DPE to the national treasury and back again.

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