Ricochet News

Dudu Myeni shown the door, but damage has been done

Oct 19, 2017
Dudu Myeni shown the door, but damage has been done

While the national carrier is still to confirm it, there was wide speculation on Thursday morning that a new board will be taking reins at South Africa Airways (SAA) after the reported axing of Chairperson, Dudu Miyeni, on Wednesday night.

The major shake-up comes just after government gave the struggling airline a R3 billion bailout - this year alone, SAA has received a total of R5.2 billion in bailouts.

Myeni was first appointed to the South African Airways SOC Limited board in 2009 while serving as the Executive Chairperson of the Jacob G Zuma Foundation since September 2008. She became chairperson of the board in 2012 and despite her controversial tenure, she was reappointed as board chair in September 2016 for a nonrenewable, one-year term.

Many thought she would stay on beyond 2018.

Businessman, JB Magwaza, who has been described as a veteran corporate executive and has served on numerous boards since the 1990s, is now tipped to replace Myeni as Chairperson of the SAA board.

A post-Cabinet briefing is scheduled for 1pm on Thursday afternoon in Pretoria is where the SAA changes are expected to be announced.

The Democratic Alliance (DA) welcomed the removal of Myeni.

"She has done untold damage to SAA and should not have been reappointed to the board, and certainly not as board chair, in September 2016," said Alf Lees MP - DA Shadow Deputy Minister of Finance.

"The question remains as to where Malusi Gigaba is going to find the R10 billion that is required to meet the R 5,2 billion already paid to SAA for loans and working capital as well as the R4,8 billion required as working capital to keep the airline trading until the end of the 2017/18 financial year."

Lees said that the crisis at SAA has now got so bad that the Minister of Finance, Malusi Gigaba, was apparently finally forced to take action in an effort to stop the mismanagement at SAA.

"The reported restructuring of the SAA board apparently includes an experienced aviation expert, after a year a calling for this since the current board was appointed on the 1st of September 2016," he said.

"Make no mistake, this reported restructuring of the SAA board and the removal of Myeni is far too little, too late to save the airline. There is no saving SAA."