SAA not obliged to share everything - Myeni

NOVEMBER 25, 2015

South African Airways (SAA) board chairperson Dudu Myeni on Tuesday said while the public had a right to know about certain things at SAA, the national carrier was not obliged to share everything.

In the early hours of Tuesday morning SAA brought a high court interdict to curb several media outlets, including Media24, which owns Fin24, from publishing the contents of a leaked memo dated 6 November 2015 to the SAA board from the acting CEO Thuli Mpshe.

Fin24 reported earlier that the memo was an internal memo prepared by the head of legal, risk and compliance at SAA, Ursula Fikelepi, to the board of the airline.

In an exclusive interview at the Hilton Hotel, Myeni said: "SAA is a state owned company and the public has a right to know certain things but we cannot discuss the day to day happenings of what is going on in the boardroom... we can’t do that."

Myeni said the board was concerned about sensitive information that had been leaked into the media in recent months.  

"The board is concerned about the leakages but I want to assure South Africans that SAA is not in shambles. There is a handful of people that are leaking documents into the media.

"SAA is in good hands and it belongs to the government, it does not belong to certain individuals and I also know that people think that when they cause a state of anarchy as they are doing, maybe they are influencing a certain elite grouping," she said.

Myeni said some executives were not happy with some of the decisions taken by the board.  

"South Africans are not focusing on an important issue of the Abu Dhabi route which was a route which was not profitable. We have lost about R280m but the focus on the media is my name, ‘Myeni’…I am sure there are people who are celebrating that we are making losses..."

She said the board questioned why some executives were continuously leaking information to the media.

"The question is why? What are they losing with what we are doing? We have commissioned forensic investigations into losses, we are doing our work… If someone is uncomfortable, they will run to the media for sympathy."

Myeni reiterated that SAA was safe and on the right trajectory.

"These leakages do not come from cleaners, technicians, engineers and any other staff members. This information that is always leaked into the media comes from the boardroom."

Myeni said the board needed to think long and hard on how to deal with the matter.

"At some point we will call a press conference and clear the air. We don’t want to mention the names of those individuals that are leaking information..."

Myeni said she could not speak about the legal action taken by SAA but admitted that, personally, there were several questions that needed to be answered.

"The question I am asking myself is that the leak came from a top structure and the interdict comes from the top structure of SAA. The Acting CEO has a duty to protect the airline.

"The elements that are causing this confusion belong to the same structure so in my personal capacity because you will hear from SAA, it is rather an unfortunate situation."