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SAA gives suspended CEO Kalawe ‘budget’ package to resign

After putting up a fight that went as far as the Labour Court and back, suspended South African Airways (SAA) CEO Monwabisi Kalawe has settled for a payout of some R2.7m to resign from his position and as a director of the carrier.

His settlement is significantly lower than that forked out to other executives who exited SAA, which has a history of paying departing CEOs handsomely. It seems that Kalawe’s bargaining power was eroded by his involvement in procuring false bank statements in a bid to "dig up dirt" on SAA board chairwoman and arch-foe Dudu Myeni.

In 2001, former SAA CEO Coleman Andrews received R232m; while Andre Viljoen walked away with about R7m and Khaya Ngqula was paid R8.9m. Vuyisile Kona, who was CEO for only four months, received about R1.5m. Kalawe was at the helm of SAA for more than two years. In the last six years, four CEOs and one acting CEO have left the airline. SAA spokesman Tlali Tlali said on Monday that Kalawe had resigned on Friday and the airline would begin the process of appointing a new CEO "soon". Nico Bezuidenhout, who is CEO of SAA low-cost carrier Mango, is acting CEO of the national airline.