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Statement by South African Airways and CEO of Mango, Nico Bezuidenhout

Johannesburg, Thursday, 07 March 2013. A media inquiry has today brought to light the fact that mischief makers are attempting to besmirch the good name of the Acting Chief Executive Officer of South African Airways (SAA).

These nameless, faceless troublemakers have represented themselves to the media in question as having inside information regarding the content of job applications, personnel files, and other documents relating to Nico Bezuidenhout, Acting CEO of SAA. They claim that some applicants for the post of SAA CEO – Bezuidenhout among them – have misrepresented their qualifications to the Board of SAA, the body responsible for identifying the airline’s new permanent CEO.

This is utterly false.

It is also a transparent and perfidious attempt to harm the airline by attempting to discredit its management. Whatever the motivation of the anonymous sources in this matter, the result can only be an attempt at destruction of a significant national asset belonging to the people of South Africa.

For the record, Bezuidenhout has never made a secret of the following:
1. his university studies included courses required for degrees in Industrial Psychology and Transport Economics, and for a Master of Business Administration;
2. he did not complete his industrial psychology or transport economics studies, choosing instead to enter the world of work;
3. he has completed his MBA course work, but has so far not handed in his thesis as he chose to concentrate on successfully building SAA’s low cost carrier, Mango, before completing the degree;
4. these facts were laid out transparently and comprehensively in all job applications and CVs he has ever submitted; and
5. should any document, report, or other communication exist which claims anything different to the above, it was written and published without his agreement and has never had his backing.

Again for the record, the standard biographical note used by the SAA Group’s communications department at all relevant times can be found at the end of this statement. Due to an editing error, SAA's 2011 and 2012 annual reports erroneously reported that Mr Bezuidenhout had completed his degrees.

There will be no further statements or interviews on this issue.


Nico Bezuidenhout has read Transport Economics, Industrial Psychology and is currently completing his MBA.

Nico has been at the helm of low cost airline Mango since its launch on 30 October 2006. Nico’s leadership has seen Mango over-achieve against its business objectives with a string of firsts; including being the first domestic airline to distribute through grocery retailer Shoprite, Checkers and Checkers Hyper, acceptance of Edgars and Jet store charge cards as tender and developing business travel products within the low cost model. More recently, Mango became the first African carrier to offer on-board Wi-Fi access.

In six years, Mango also received several awards, including Best African Low Cost Carrier at Dubai’s World Travel Awards in 2008, thirteen successive PRISM Awards for its PR and communication and a Budgie Award for marketing in 2008 among others. The Airports Company of South Africa has also, over time, awarded Mango its Feather Awards for excellence in aviation and service levels in all the airports it operates from.

Prior to taking the reins at Mango, Nico headed the team responsible for South African Airways’ foray into e-commerce. He was responsible for the carrier’s online strategy, delivering one of the flag carrier’s largest commercial successes in recent years.

Nico started his career as tour finance and merchandising commercial manager for Big Concerts, overseeing several international artists’ tours of South Africa including INXS, Michael Jackson and U2 among others. His stint in the live event arena led him into joining and leading the team that launched the first online ticketing agency in the country, Ticketweb, which successfully competed against box office giant Computicket at the time.


About SAA
South African Airways (SAA) is the leading carrier in Africa, serving 26 destinations across the continent, as well as major destinations within South Africa and internationally from its Johannesburg hub. It is a member of the largest international airline network, Star Alliance. SAA’s core business is the provision of passenger airline and cargo transport services together with related services, which are provided through SAA and its four wholly owned subsidiaries: SAA Technical; Mango its low cost carrier; Air Chefs, the catering entity of SAA and South African Travel Centre (SATC). SAA is the winner of the 'Best Airline in Africa’ Award in the regional category for ten consecutive years and the winner of ‘Service Excellence Africa’ for three consecutive years. Mango and SAA hold the number one and number two successive spots as South Africa’s most on - time airlines.

For more information contact:

SAA Group Corporate Affairs
Tlali Tlali
Executive: Group Corporate Affairs
Tel: +2711-978-3819
Mobile: +27 82 333 3880
Email: tlalitlali@flysaa.com

Kabelo Ledwaba
Communication Manager (External)
Tel: +27 11 978 2760
Mobile: +27 83 414 4720
Email: KabeloLedwaba@flysaa.com

Website: www.flysaa.com
Twitter: @flysaa