The Black Management Forum (BMF) condemns the appointment of Nico Bezuidenhout as Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Mango, a state-owned low-cost carrier and subsidiary of South African Airways (SAA), and will challenge it through all available means.

“The BMF will challenge the Department of Public Enterprises (DPE), SAA and Mango Airlines on this outrageous appointment of a 'white male matriculant’, who is reported to have fraudulently misrepresented his qualifications to rescue the airline whereas there are thousands of suitably qualified Black Professionals who can fill this role. We are very concerned that the job specifications appear to have been tailored to suit Mr Bezuidenhout because we have never seen any advertisement for a senior position, like that of a DG, DDG, CEO, COO, or CFO, where the minimum academic requirement is a matric.” Nomlala remarks.

Nomlala is, however, adamant that the most critical issue is not Bezuidenhout's competence or qualifications. “The BMF would, regardless of the qualification issue, still condemn this appointment primarily as a matter of principle but also because the selection process followed was clearly compromised if not downright flouted. I can also confirm, and have the documents to prove, that the advert was altered to suit Mr Bezuidenhout. The position was advertised twice, eight months apart. The first advert had a degree as a minimum requirement whereas the second advert did not. We intend to write to Parliament, which is Constitutionally mandated to keep the Executive accountable, to ensure that this process of candidate selection was in accordance to principles of good governance.” he adds.


SAA launched Mango in November 2006. Bezuidenhout was CEO of the airline until 2016 when he left to head Fastjet. However, as revealed by the Democratic Alliance and reported in the media in November 2014 after he was appointed acting CEO of SAA, Bezuidenhout fraudulently misrepresented his qualifications when applying for his position at Mango in 2006.

He allegedly claimed to have studied for, and completed, a Bachelor of Commerce (BCom) degree at the University of Johannesburg between 1997 and 2000. Four years later, in 2010 he allegedly changed his CV and listed the degree as delayed. In 2011, the SAA annual report said that Bezuidenhout had completed a BCom degree in Transport Economics and Industrial Psychology and a Master of Business Administration (MBA) degree. Mr Bezuidenhout did not correct this error at the time, then later claimed that it was a mere error. It appeared again in the airline’s 2012 annual report. It is inconceivable that Mr Bezuidenhout was not aware of what was contained in the annual reports, which leads one to conclude that the misrepresentation was deliberate.

Nomlala states that “in December 2014, former SABC chairman Ellen Tshabalala resigned after a parliamentary inquiry found her guilty on two charges: of lying to parliament about her qualifications and lying to parliament in a sworn affidavit that said she had lost her qualifications after a burglary at her home. Therefore, the BMF is calling for an investigation into Bezuidenhout’s academic qualifications. We cannot have different standards for black and white people. Why is there less outrage when a white person fraudulently misrepresents their qualifications? It is completely irrelevant to cite Bezuidenhout’s past performance as CEO of Mango."

“The BMF is very concerned about the reversal of transformation at state-owned companies that report to the DPE, which seems to believe that 'white is right' and that white people are inherently more competent than black people. SAA Technical recently appointed a white male CEO as well. We are aware that the board had initially recommended a suitably qualified black candidate and it took DPE five months to approve that appointment. The department further refused to pay signing-on and relocation fees. The black candidate eventually walked away from the role.” continues Nomlala.

In a similar case, Denel recently appointed a white CEO who received R1.5m signing-on bonus and R600 000 relocation bonus, according to the recent media reports, despite the company’s desperate financial situation. Soon after his appointment, two black senior managers have since resigned and all Executive and Senior Management positions at Denel have been filled by white males. “It now becomes clear to the BMF that if government under the DPE is not appointing crooks who led us to State Capture, they go to the other extreme of wanting to return us to apartheid days. When they appoint suitable qualified black professionals, like in the case of Vuyani Jarana and Phakamani Hadebe, they are not given the necessary support, and they are left out to dry on their own.”

The Black Management forum calls upon all professionals who support our cause to use our crowdfunding platform to support the BMF Litigation Fund that will be used to pay our legal fees when challenging these decisions. To pledge your support, Please follow the link below:

The link will also be made available on all BMF social media platforms and the BMF website. 

For all inquiries please contact:
Philippe Bakahoukoutela
073 374 2999
011 784 4407
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 

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About the Black Management Forum

The Black Management Forum (the BMF) has been in existence for 43 years. It is a thought-leadership organisation with the main purpose of influencing socio-economic transformation in our country, in pursuit of socio-economic justice, fairness and equity. The BMF stands for the development and empowerment of managerial leadership and the creation of managerial structures and processes that reflect the demographics and values of the wider society.