SAA chair in hot water over R1.5bn lease agreement change


Democratic Alliance (DA) Shadow Minister of Public Enterprises Natasha Mazzone has said the party would be launching an application to have Finance Minister, Nhlanhla Nene, explain to Parliament details surrounding the proposed modifications of a leasing agreement by controversial South African Airways (SAA) chairperson, Dudu Meyni.

Her reaction comes after it was reported that Meyni wanted amendments done to an agreement with Airbus, which would result in a third-party individual buying the planes on behalf of SAA. The changing of contract would see the national carrier having to pay R1.5-billion by next month, for not sticking to the requirements.

“This deal is ill-conceived and indicative of the poor management that has grounded our carrier for years,” Mazzone said.

“The management of SAA is in complete disarray with a number of senior officials resigning and threating to resign. Minister Nene must act swiftly to prevent Ms Myeni from going ahead with this deal that will cost the airline and the country dearly. We cannot allow Ms Myeni to strong-arm Treasury or the Minister”.

Earlier this year, the party called for Myeni’s sacking following the resignation of SAA Chief Strategy Officer, Barry Parsons, who described the running of the airline’s board as dysfunctional.

“There are good people at SAA but unfortunately there are others who are not [diligent] and that has compromised the board's integrity and rendered it dysfunctional,” Parson said in a letter addressed to acting SAA CEO Nico Bezuidenhout.