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Head of S.Africa's troubled state airline exits

JOHANNESBURG, Oct 8 (Reuters) - The chief executive of South African Airways has stepped down, the government said on Monday, just days after Pretoria promised to shoulder $600 million in loan guarantees for the struggling state-owned airline.

The Department of Public Enterprises said in a statement Siza Mzimela had resigned and the airline's board would begin a search for her successor.

The government promised last week to guarantee $600 million in loans for the airline, a move that could put further pressure on an already strained national budget.

South Africa's state-owned companies, including SAA and national broadcaster SABC, have come under fire for what critics say is excessive spending of taxpayer money.

(Reporting by David Dolan; Editing by Ed Cropley)

((david.dolan@thomsonreuters.com)(+27 11 775 3150)(Reuters Messaging: david.dolan@thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net))

Keywords: SAFRICA AIRLINE/