Appointment of Zuma ally will not set SAA back on course
The appointment of Zuma ally Dudu Myeni as chairperson of South African Airways (SAA) would be another gross example of the ANC's "jobs for friends" ideology and must be fully justified by Public Enterprises Minister Malusi Gigaba.
In an act of brazen disregard for the wellbeing of public funds, Minister Gigaba is set to prove once again that under the Zuma government, it's not what you know, it's who you know.
On the back of a R4 billion government bail-out in 2007, a R5 billion loan guarantee from the South African government, a R1.25 billion loss in the 2012 financial year and no concrete plans to turn its operations around, Minister Gigaba is reportedly set to appoint a close friend of President Zuma with a severely compromised record to the helm of the SAA board.
This is a woman who earlier this year, senior Water Affairs Department officials recommended should not be reappointed as chairperson of the Mhlathuze Water Board, a position she held since February 2006, because "she would bring instability back into the board and was at the centre of the current crisis and disharmony" at the utility.
The most shocking elements of her less than sterling record include:
- A failed probity test, which revealed a default judgment against her in relation to R416 460 owed to Absa bank on a R3.7-million Richards Bay property;
- a R1.7 million judgement in favour of Standard Bank in respect to a property she reportedly co-owns; and
- a Special Investigating Unit (SIU) investigation into alleged maladministration, abuse of state resources, unfair dismissal of staff, noncompliance with procurement and tender processes at Mhlathuze between January 2004 and September 2008. The outcome of which never saw the light of day after, according to an SIU source, an "outbreak of shredding paper and deleting computer files" ensued, stopping the investigation in its tracks.
I will be writing to Minister Gigaba to demand that he fully discloses all relevant information relating to Myeni's reported appointment. The Minister must explain in detail how Dudu Myeni's track record qualifies her as the most outstanding candidate for this position, ahead of all the other applicants, assuming there were any.
What SAA needs now is a strong and respected leader with an impeccable record, particularly with regards to managing financial matters. In Dudu Myeni, SAA will get none of these.
Statement issued by Natasha Michael MP, DA Shadow Minister of Public Enterprises, December 14 2012
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