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South African Business 2022

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Welcome to the 10th edition of the South African Business journal. First published in 2011, the publication has established itself as the premier business and investment guide to South Africa, supported by the website www.southafricanbusiness.co.za. Regular pages cover all the main economic sectors of the South African economy and give a snapshot of each of the country’s provinces. This issue has a focus on Special Economic Zones which are being rolled out across the country with specific economic areas of focus. The importance of the revival of minerals exploration and the significance of onshore and offshore gas discoveries is the subject of another special feature.

INTERVIEW Building a

INTERVIEW Building a logistics hub at Polokwane International Airport Victor Xaba, the chairperson of the board of Gateway Airports Authority Limited (GAAL), reports on growing investor and airline interest as the entity rebuilds. What are the key responsibilities of the GAAL board? As the accounting authority, the board is responsible for: • Providing strategic direction, taking GAAL from its current position towards being financially and operationally sustainable. • Entrenching the principles of corporate governance as well as compliance to industry regulations and legislative requirements. • Leadership stability through the appointment of a senior management team that is adequately skilled, ethical, performancedriven and accountable. • Ensuring business continuity. • Drving the consolidation and growth of the aviation industry within Limpopo, furthering the interests of service delivery as well as economic growth in South Africa and the SADC region. • Promoting the Provincial Integrated Transport Strategy, inclusive of the establishment of Polokwane as the Provincial Logistics Hub. Dithoriso Victor Xaba, Chairperson of the Board BIOGRAPHY Born in Temba, Tshwane, Xaba is a business executive with over 21 years’ work experience within the defence and aviation sectors. Qualified as a chemical engineer, Xaba joined Denel in 2000 and progressed through various technical and managerial positions eventually serving as Acting CEO, Chief Commercial Officer and Deputy CEO in Denel and SA Express. In October 2020, Xaba was appointed CEO of Forpress Technologies. In April 2021, Xaba was appointed Chairperson of the Board of GAAL. How important is safety in aviation? The safety of passengers and goods in transit lies at the centre of the aviation industry. The aviation industry is governed by the South African Civil Aviation Authority Act. Has PIA been attracting new investors or airlines? Yes indeed. Within the current financial year there has been expressions of interest by companies wishing to take tenancy at the aerodrome as well as considering the expansion of their existing operations into PIA. This is a positive development which will fuel the activities of management to expand their engagement with airlines and infrastructure investors to consider PIA as a critical part of their growth plans. What are the attractions of PIA as a transport hub? The geographical location of PIA in proximity to SADC countries, the world-class facilities as well as the available usable land are some of the key attractions that make the airport “fertile ground” for the establishment of the provincial transport and logistics hub. Is GAAL running campaigns to sell PIA to investors? The resumption of scheduled flights into PIA, the renewal of the airport’s operating licence by the SACAA and the relaxation of Covid-19 restrictions have allowed GAAL to prepare and launch campaigns targeted at air travellers, airlines and infrastructure investors. Beyond running GAAL-specific campaigns, the entity is engaging with the provincial administration stakeholders to embark on joint campaigns. ■

INTERVIEW Finding the right talent The Acting CEO of Gateway Airports Authority Limited (GAAL), Paul Moloto, looks forward to building a strong team to drive growth. Please tell us about your background in aviation. My introduction to the aviation industry was by sheer luck. I was part of a group of volunteers helping the airport regain its commercial operations after the licence downgrade. My experience of being an extensive traveller assisted me in appreciating working in this intriguing environment. What are your short-term goals for GAAL? In the words of our Board Chairperson, “Arresting the decline”. For anything we do to be successful, we need to get the human resources right. Our task is finding the talent with the right ethics and commitment to ensure that we never regress. Paul Moloto, Acting CEO, GAAL BIOGRAPHY Born in Moletsi, Polokwane, Moloto became SRC President in 1991. A graduate of Damelin, University of Limpopo, Wits Business School and the National School of Government, he led various structures such as SAYCO, ANCYL, ANC, the SACP and NEHAWU. A former head of protocol in the Limpopo Office of the Premier, he became Director Special Programmes in the Department of Safety Security and Liaison until it was amalgamated into the Department of Transport and Community Safety. Where do you see GAAL in 10 years’ time? With the current limited utilisation of our asset, we remain a welllocated logistics hub for the province, the largest and northern-most international airport with two long runways ready for cargo and passengers alike. Giving true meaning to the concept of the heartland of Southern Africa, safely providing a mode of transport still to be tapped into by the growing African continent. Polokwane International Airport could assist as a refuelling station and cargo hub as well as serving to decongest passenger and cargo volumes for OR Tambo International Airport. Given the proximity to Gauteng, size and availability of space in Polokwane, the airport could also serve as a source for carbon-free hydrogen fuel. Polokwane International Airport will facilitate connecting flights for SAA, particularly to SADC countries. What impact did Covid-19 have on operations? We lost talent due to the death of some staff members. The lockdown has also led to the loss of business and revenue for the company. Have flight figures improved after the lockdown? There was an improvement after the lockdown, hence the resuscitation of full operations to Category Seven. We are optimistic that the business will flourish given that many of our potential passengers have been vaccinated and the economy of the country has stabilised. What airlines fly in and out of GAAL? Currently Airlink is our only commercial airline operator. There is an abundance of new opportunity available, based on the investment in infrastructure that has taken place. ■ 71 SOUTH AFRICAN BUSINESS 2022

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