DA to go to court to remove Dudu Myeni from SAA cockpit

The Democratic Alliance says it will institute legal action on the reappointment of Dudu Myeni as chairperson of the SAA board.

“We are of the strong opinion that there is a case to be made that Myeni’s reappointment is wholly irrational,” the political party said in a statement on on Monday.

The requirement of rationality obliges courts to engage in an evaluation of the relationship between the means employed to reach a decision on the one hand, and the purpose for which the power to make the decision was conferred, on the other.

“Each and every step in the process of reaching the decision must be rationally related to the outcome,” the political party said.

The Constitutional Court, in the seminal case of Democratic Alliance v President of South Africa, stated that:

“[A] rationality review is really concerned with the evaluation of a relationship between means and ends: the relationship, connection or link (as it is variously referred to) between the means employed to achieve a particular purpose on the one hand and the purpose or end itself.  The aim of the evaluation of the relationship is not to determine whether some means will achieve the purpose better than others but only whether the means employed are rationally related to the purpose for which the power was conferred.”

“We are thus of the opinion that there was no rational basis for the reappointment of Dudu Myeni as Board Chairperson based on her dreadful performance over the past four years, which simply cannot be overlooked,” the DA said.

The DA described Cabinet’s decision to retain Myeni as a disaster for South Africa. It said that under her watch SAA has:

  • Failed to publish annual financial statements for 2014/15 with an apparent loss of R4.7 billion.
  • Failed to publish annual financial statements for 2015/16 with an apparent loss of R4 billion.
  • Myeni has also run SAA at an apparent R1.3 billion loss for the first quarter of 2016/17.
  • Irrationally suspended officials, apparently because they tried to curb corruption.
  • Cost the company millions of rands with no returns for the BnP funding debacle.
  • Put SAA at risk of losing lucrative routes such as the Hong Kong route.

“Myeni’s reappointment not only reeks of nepotism and cronyism, it also flies in the face of the need for good governance at SOEs,” the party said.

The DA also highlighted many ‘questionable decisions’ by Myeni, including:

  • Requesting National Treasury to approve a new route to Khartoum, Sudan, on behalf of President Jacob Zuma, in order to show support to “his brother”, the controversial Sudan president Omar al-Bashir;
  • Suspending Cynthia Stimpel, Head of Treasury for SAA, for removing company documents which SAA said was a breach of its own code and ethics. The documents related to the BnP debacle, and indicated that BnP’s services were three times more expensive than the nearest quote she had received from banks;
  • Attempting to reinstate a direct flight route between Cape Town and Durban and Cape Town and Port Elizabeth at a huge loss of R256 million a year so that ANC MPs from KwaZulu-Natal and the Eastern Cape could “travel in style”;
  • Reneging on SAA’s imminent equity partnership agreement with Emirates Airlines at the 11th hour – allegedly on the instruction of President Zuma – which would have seen more than R2 billion injected into the cash strapped entity; and
  • Requesting that the chief procurement officer add the name of Mr Sizwe Zuma to a list of potential new jet fuel suppliers. SAA’s jet fuel contracts are worth R10 billion per year and the airline is currently in the process of finding new empowerment partners to benefit from these lucrative contracts.

“We contend that Dudu Myeni is an unfit and inappropriate appointment, incapable of steering SAA in the right direction. This will involve a review by the High Court as to the rationality of the decision taken by Cabinet to reappoint Ms Myeni.”

The DA questioned the rationality of Myeni’s appointment ‘based on her dreadful performance over the past years’. It said that it will not allow president Jacob Zuma to use institutions of state as tools for his own political gain.

“The reality is that we are effectively flying blind with Dudu Myeni in the cockpit of SAA,” the DA said.

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DA to go to court to remove Dudu Myeni from SAA cockpit