SOUTH African Airways (SAA) CEO Siza Mzimela has quit the embattled airline after weeks of speculation that she was planning to exit the top job of the national carrier.
In a letter to staff, Ms Mzimela said her resignation was "not a random move".
"I have given this decision careful thought and feel that now is the best time to relinquish my position as your CEO and allow somebody else to pilot the company into the future," she said.
SAA is expected to report a R1,25bn loss for the year ended March 31 when it holds its AGM on October 15.
The exit of Ms Mzimela follows the dramatic walk out by the majority of the board at the airline earlier this month, including the chairwoman Cheryl Carolus, all citing a breakdown in the relationship with the shareholder ministry the Department of Public Enterprises.
Last week the airline won support from National Treasury, in the form of a R5bn two-year guarantee, after hard negotiations between that department and the Department of Public Enterprises to support the airline, which according to the previous board has a debt to equity ratio of -359%.
"I leave with some sadness because I have thoroughly enjoyed being a member of the SAA family for almost three years – and will therefore miss the company and all of you," Ms Mzimela said.
"I have a sense of relief because steering this mega national asset is, to state the obvious, a very demanding and daunting task even under the best of times."
"But as many of you know, there has not always been a uniform understanding and appreciation of this mandate from stakeholders, which bred a myriad of challenges – as if the operating environment was not daunting enough without this unnecessary discourse and misinformation," Ms Mzimela said.
Department of Public Enterprises spokesman Mayihlome Tshwete said the department had been informed of her departure.
SAA spokesman Tlali Tlali could not confirm the resignation when contacted for comment.
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