The DA will file papers at the Western Cape High Court this week to challenge the rationality of reappointing Dudu Myeni – a primary school teacher from Richards Bay – as chair of the South African Airways board, DA leader Mmusi Maimane announced yesterday.
The chairman of the DA federal executive, James Selfe, reminded the government that Myeni’s disastrous performance at SAA – which has seen the national airline receive at least R15-billion from the taxpayer just to keep it going – was warned against by the DA even before she was appointed in 2012.
At the time, the DA warned that Myeni’s problems as chairwoman of the Umhlathuze Water Board in Richards Bay were about to be repeated. These included:
- She failed a probity test, which revealed a default judgment against her relating to R416 460 owed to Absa on a property in Richards Bay;
- A judgment of R1.7-million in favour of Standard Bank on a property she co-owned; and
- Most worryingly, a special investigating unit probe into alleged maladministration, abuse of resources, unfair dismissal of staff and non-compliance with procurement and tender processes while she chaired the Umhlathuze Water Board.
At the time, the ANC refused to heed the DA’s warnings, with disastrous results:
- In 2011, under the chairmanship of Cheryl Carolus, the SAA posted a profit of R747-million;
- In 2012, still under Carolus, the SAA posted a profit of R60-million;
- In 2013, under Myeni’s chairmanship, SAA posed a profit of R1.2-billion;
- In 2014, under Myeni, the SAA posted a loss of R2.6-billion;
- In 2015, under Myeni, the SAA posed a loss of R4.7-billion, and
- In 2016, under Myeni, the SAA posed a loss of R4-billion.
Maimane said the only reason Myeni was in her job was because she was very close to President Jacob Zuma, who had captured the state.
He noted her support for the introduction of a new route from Johannesburg to Khartoum to show support for Zuma’s ally, Sudanese President Omar al Bashir.
The DA decided to go the legal route that her appointment was irrational because it believes the case has many similarities with that of Menzi Simelane, whose appointment as national director of public prosecutions was stopped by the DA in court, on the grounds that his appointment was irrational.
The DA is also worried that no-one on the SAA board has any experience of running an airline successfully.