Confirming earlier speculation, Cabinet has reappointed friend of president Jacob Zuma, Dudu Myeni, as head of the SAA board.
On Thursday, The Times reported that a list of 13 names had been handed to Cabinet for consideration ,with Myeni expected to maintain control of the troubled airline.
According to the paper, Myeni’s presence on the list is a “massive compromise” on the part of National Treasury, which has not minced its words in expressing its desire for the current chair to be given the boot.
However, a list of names submitted by finance minister Pravin Gordhan, which excluded Myeni, was reportedly outright rejected by president Jacob Zuma.
Despite the apparent defeat in the battle for SAA, it has been noted that other board candidates are allies of National Treasury – or at least considered ‘heavyweights’ approved by Treasury – and will be difficult for Myeni to simply brush aside or push past.
These allies reportedly include former SAA chief financial officer and current Chief Financial Officer of PPC Tryphosa Ramano; former Business Day and Financial Mail MD, Mzimkulu Malunga; Economist and strategist with Investec Asset Management, Nazmeera Moola and many others.
Here is the full list of appointed candidates:
- Ms Duduzile Cynthia Myeni (reappointment as Chairperson)
- Ms Mmakeaya Tryphosa Ramano (Deputy Chairperson)
- Ms Bajabulile Swazi Tshabalala
- Ms Thandeka Mgoduso
- Ms Nazmeera Moola
- Mr Akhter Moosa
- Ms Gugu Sepamla
- Mr Siphile Buthelezi
- Mr Peter Maluleka
- Mr Mzimkulu Malunga
- Dr Marha Mbatha
- Mr Peter Tshisevhe
Myeni is a personal friend of Zuma’s, and heads up the Jacob Zuma Foundation.
The chair is widely blamed for the mismanagement and maladministration at SAA, which has led to the airline’s crushing financial difficulties over the better part of the last decade.
SAA has received a number of government bailouts worth at least R14.4 billion over the years, and is looking for another R5 billion guarantee from Treasury.
It is understood that with the new board in place, finance minister Pravin Gordhan will sign off on the guarantee to prevent further crises at SAA, and pave the way for the group’s financial report to be released later in September.