“The disciplinary inquiry process will commence in due course on the dates to be determined by the external chairperson in conjunction with the parties’ representatives,” SAA said in a statement on its website.
The inquiry follows an investigation conducted by Edward Nathan Sonnenbergs Forensics, overseen by a subcommittee of the SAA board.
It would be chaired by Nazeer Cassim SC, of the Johannesburg Bar, who would consider the allegations in terms of SAA’s policies and practices, and the law, SAA said.
It would not divulge details of the complaints because the matter was internal.
“… Suffice to say that the allegations relate to serious misconduct relating, inter alia, to non-compliance with various critical policies and procedures as well as legislation…”
This included the Public Finance Management Act, SAA’s supply chain management policy, job evaluation policy and recruitment and selection policy.
There were also allegations relating to the delegation of authority policy, gross misrepresentation to the minister of public enterprises, and failure to act at all times in SAA’s best interests.
“These remain allegations, and whether Mr Kalawe is in fact guilty and what penalty may be imposed, if any, will be determined by the chairperson of the hearing after considering all the evidence presented by the parties,” SAA said.
Kalawe would remain on suspension pending the outcome of the disciplinary process, at which stage SAA would issue a statement.
SAA has been in financial straits recently and was one of three state-owned companies transferred to the National Treasury from the public enterprises department on December 12, after Minister in the Presidency Jeff Radebe said the Cabinet was concerned about its performance.
Last month the finance ministry announced that Minister Nhlanhla Nene had approved an additional R6.488 billion guarantee for SAA, taking the total guarantees granted to the airline to R14.3bn, subject to certain provisos.
The release of SAA’s financial statements for the 2013/14 financial year had been delayed because it was technically insolvent. The guarantee allows SAA to borrow more money.