Time to ditch dead-weight Dudu Myeni

The Times (South Africa) - - Opinion&letters -

As South African Air­ways nose­dives as a vi­able en­tity the air­line is scram­bling to keep it­self in the air by slash­ing flights and hold­ing out for an an­tic­i­pated R13-bil­lion state bailout.

But, as one critic ob­served yes­ter­day, the air­line will not be able to cut its way to growth. Far bolder mea­sures are re­quired and the best start is the one which should be the eas­i­est: get­ting rid of Dudu Myeni, the SAA board chair­man who has presided over the air­line’s most dis­as­trous years.

But Myeni stands as a gi­ant among Pres­i­dent Ja­cob Zuma’s un­touch­ables. Her close­ness to Zuma is well known — she is also ex­ec­u­tive chair­man of the opaque Ja­cob G Zuma

There is no way SAA can take to the skies with that chair­man on board

Foun­da­tion — but the rea­sons for her ap­par­ent in­vin­ci­bil­ity in the face of a litany of scan­dal re­mains the stuff of wa­ter-cooler gossip.

The case against her as chair­man of SAA’s board is more clear-cut.

The Or­gan­i­sa­tion Un­do­ing Tax Abuse, in a court ap­pli­ca­tion to have her de­clared a delin­quent di­rec­tor, paints a neat pic­ture of Myeni’s se­rial fail­ures.

She had presided over the air­line’s loss of more than R10-bil­lion over most of the past decade, marked by malfea­sance and an end­less turnover of se­nior man­agers. Myeni has failed even the most gen­er­ous in­ter­pre­ta­tion of cor­po­rate gover­nance pos­si­ble.

So why then would Fi­nance Min­is­ter Malusi Gi­gaba have ex­tended her term (which ex­pired in Au­gust) un­til the air­line’s an­nual gen­eral meet­ing in Novem­ber — but which, if prece­dent holds, could eas­ily be post­poned for months more?

Thank­fully, par­lia­ment’s stand­ing com­mit­tee on fi­nance — cit­ing a host of ir­reg­u­lar­i­ties — is hav­ing none of it, de­mand­ing that Gi­gaba re­view his de­ci­sion and re­port back to the com­mit­tee within seven days.

There is no way SAA can take to the skies with the weight of Myeni bear­ing on its tail.

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