BUY FACE TIME WITH NUM­BER 1

SAA chair­per­son runs lu­cra­tive con­sul­tancy that of­fers ac­cess to VIPs. SAA pilots lose con­fi­dence in the board and are con­cerned at grow­ing tur­bu­lence.

CityPress - - Front Page - SU­SAN COM­RIE and ABRAM MASHEGO su­san.com­rie@city­press.co.za abram.mashego@city­press.co.za

SAA board chair­per­son Dudu Myeni is mak­ing tens of thou­sands of rands selling ac­cess to Pres­i­dent Ja­cob Zuma.

In­voices to Mamelodi Sun­downs football club from her pri­vate com­pany, Dudu Myeni Con­sult­ing, which City Press has seen, show how Myeni charges for meet­ings with and in­tro­duc­tions to “HE”, an ab­bre­vi­a­tion for His Ex­cel­lency Pres­i­dent Ja­cob Zuma.

Myeni also bills Sun­downs for ar­rang­ing meet­ings be­tween its chair­per­son Pa­trice Mot­sepe, HE and var­i­ous other dig­ni­taries, among them deputy min­is­ters, tra­di­tional lead­ers and in­ter­na­tional per­son­ages.

In May, Myeni billed Sun­downs for “plans to in­tro­duce the newly ap­pointed Pres­i­dent of IMF [In­ter­na­tional Mon­e­tary Fund] to the Chair­man [Mot­sepe] at WEF [the World Eco­nomic Fo­rum for Africa held in Cape Town].” This ap­pears to be the new pres­i­dent of the African De­vel­op­ment Bank Akinwumi Adesina rather than the head of the In­ter­na­tional Mon­e­tary Fund.

In Fe­bru­ary, Myeni billed Sun­downs for work on an agri­cul­tural pro­ject in the Ugu dis­trict of Kwa-Zulu-Natal, which in­cluded meet­ing with Deputy Agri­cul­ture Min­is­ter Bheki Cele for “plan­ning”, and “launch prepa­ra­tions” for dig­ni­taries, which in­cluded Zuma, Kwa-Zulu-Natal Premier Senzo Mchunu and Mot­sepe.

City Press has con­firmed that the pro­ject went ahead. Cele did not re­spond to re­quests for com­ment.

Myeni is chair­per­son of the Ja­cob G Zuma Foun­da­tion and en­joys a close re­la­tion­ship with the pres­i­dent. How­ever, it has not been pre­vi­ously re­vealed that she charges for ac­cess to him.

Myeni, speak­ing through lawyers, re­fused to com­ment on de­tailed ques­tions, de­spite ini­tial un­der­tak­ings to do so in tele­phone con­ver­sa­tions and emails.

Myeni would not pro­vide an­swers to de­tailed ques­tions, in­clud­ing who else she sells ac­cess to, which other com­pa­nies or or­gan­i­sa­tions pay her for ac­cess to the pres­i­dent, and whether her con­sult­ing busi­ness ben­e­fits con­flict with her public roles as SAA chair­per­son and head of the pres­i­dent’s char­i­ta­ble foun­da­tion.

Sun­downs act­ing gen­eral man­ager Sizwe Nz­i­mande said the in­voices re­lated to football de­vel­op­ment.

“Sun­downs was ap­proached by am­a­teur football de­vel­op­ment par­tic­i­pants and some of its sup­port­ers in Kwa-Zulu-Natal to help de­velop football in north­ern Kwa-Zulu-Natal. We were con­cerned about gov­er­nance and ac­count­abil­ity and sug­gested that they iden­tify a struc­ture or en­tity we could work through. They sug­gested Dudu Myeni as she had been in­volved in football de­vel­op­ment in the area for quite some time,” he said.

One of the char­i­ties Sun­downs sup­ports is Zuma’s wildly pop­u­lar an­nual Msholozi Cup.

But the in­voices are from Myeni’s pri­vate com­pany, not from the Foun­da­tion. Her con­sul­tancy is also not listed on the Com­pa­nies and In­tel­lec­tial Prop­er­ties Com­mis­sion. Her in­voices men­tion noth­ing of football, although there is a sin­gle ref­er­ence to a “fundrais­ing plan­ning” meet­ing.

Myeni and Yakhe Kwinana (a char­tered ac­coun­tant who also serves on the Foun­da­tion’s board) were the only two SAA di­rec­tors to make the cut when Public En­ter­prises min­is­ter Lynn Brown made sweep­ing changes at the top of the bleed­ing na­tional car­rier.

Last week re­ports sug­gested new tur­bu­lence as Myeni sought to re­place act­ing CEO Nico Bezuiden­hout, the fourth chief ex­ec­u­tive in five years.

News24 re­ported yesterday that SAA con­firmed the res­ig­na­tion of its chief strat­egy of­fi­cer Barry Par­sons. His res­ig­na­tion let­ter con­tained damn­ing re­marks about the air­line which is sur­viv­ing on gov­ern­ment bailouts. “Un­for­tu­nately I have lost all con­fi­dence in the board to lead and progress the busi­ness, and when I look at the 2015 cor­po­rate plan and the pri­or­i­ties the board seem to have... I can­not rec­on­cile the two”.

City Press last week re­ported that Kwinana had ap­proached a Bid­vest sub­sidiary which runs var­i­ous ser­vices for SAA and in­sisted on ap­point­ing an ad­di­tional and hand-picked 30% black share­holder into its busi­ness, os­ten­si­bly as a con­di­tion for the re­newal of its con­tract.

News of Myeni’s side­line busi­ness comes amid in­creas­ing ten­sions within the air­line.

A se­nior in­sider at SAA told City Press the re­la­tion­ship be­tween CEO Nico Bezuiden­hout and Myeni had ini­tially been good and some sta­bil­ity had been re­turn­ing to the com­pany. But af­ter a pro­posed joint ven­ture with Emi­rates fell apart, things at SAA started to rapidly de­te­ri­o­rate.

Moves are now afoot to ei­ther fire Bezuiden­hout or send him back to SAA’s low cost car­rier Mango. The in­sider said they un­der­stood that the air­line’s hu­man re­sources depart­ment had al­ready be­gun draw­ing up the cri­te­ria in or­der to ad­ver­tise for a new CEO of SAA.

Cap­tain John Harty, chair­man of the South African Air­ways Pilots’ As­so­ci­a­tion (SAAPA), said: “We do be­lieve there’s a lead­er­ship cri­sis, the board has been dec­i­mated, there are only four or five mem­bers of the board left.”

Harty said SAA pilots had be­come very con­cerned by re­ports of board­room in­fight­ing, but de­spite at­tempts to en­gage Myeni, she has failed to re­spond. Now SAAPA wants to ap­proach Brown.

“The only info we get from the com­pany is what we read in the news­pa­per,” he said. “We will be send­ing a let­ter to all the rel­e­vant stake­hold­ers to ex­press our con­cerns about the lack of lead­er­ship at SAA at the mo­ment, and we will be con­sid­er­ing our op­tions.”

IN BLACK AND WHITE

The in­voices to Mamelodi Sun­downs from Dudu Myeni Con­sult­ing. The in­voices re­flect planned

meet­ings with HE (Pres­i­dent Zuma)

BRO­KER

SAA chair­per­son Dudu Myeni

GOLDEN EAR Pres­i­dent Ja­cob Zuma

BUSI­NESS­MAN Pa­trice Mot­sepe

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