President to be grilled on how Dudu Myeni survived the chop at SAA

President Jacob Zuma will on Tuesday face tough questions from members of Parliament over some of the decisions which have dogged his government in recent months.

While the question session is likely to dominated by the legal battle between the National Prosecuting Authority and Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan‚ Zuma is also expected to face questions as to why Dudu Myeni retained her position as chairperson of the South African Airways (SAA) board.

In September‚ Cabinet officially recommended Myeni remain chairperson despite the poor financial performance of the state-owned airline. Gordhan approved an application from the country’s cash-strapped national airline for a guarantee as a going concern.

SAA has been surviving on state-guaranteed loans and has failed to submit financial statements for the past two years‚ with results for 2015/16 held back after Treasury refused to grant it R5-billion in additional loan guarantees.

The Democratic Alliance has been vehemently opposed to Myeni as it believes she put in a disastrous performance at the airline and claims that under her SAA received at least R15-billion on taxpayers’ money just to keep the airline going.

Zuma will have to explain why Myeni survived the chop during the appointment of the new SAA board.

Economic Freedom Fighters leader Julius Malema was criticised in Parliament in September when he called the SAA chair “Dudu Myeni-Zuma”‚ taking a dig at the close relationship that Myeni has been reported to have with the president – Myeni heads the Jacob Zuma Trust.

Several senior African National Congress (ANC) MPs‚ including Small Business Development Minister Lindiwe Zulu and Social Development Minister Bathabile Dlamini‚ shouted that Malema was out of order because of what the appellation Myeni-Zuma implied about their relationship.

While Malema was taken to task‚ the ANC Youth League’s deputy secretary-general Thandi Moraka escaped a rebuke when she told a press conference in September: “We want to affirm our confidence in both the former SABC COO and the Chairperson of SAA Dudu Myeni Zuma in their quest to transform this SOEs.”

In response to SAA troubles‚ Zuma is expected to also share some light into whether government is implementing the recommendations of the presidential review committee on state-owned enterprises.

The committee recommended that:

– Government should develop a long-term strategy for SOEs‚ including the promulgation of a single ‘SOE Act’ that should apply to all SOEs across government as a whole;

– There would should a standardisation of appointment and remuneration processes for all SOEs‚ as well as standardising development and delivery goals;

– The role of SOEs in economic transformation‚ especially with respect to procurement deals‚ should be enhanced;

– There should be a re-examination of the financing of SOEs to strike a better balance between equity and debt financing; and

– There should be a strengthening of the political accountability of ministers over SOEs so as to ensure better line-function management.t

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