Gord­han's leaked sub­mis­sion re­veals Zuma's med­dling in de­ci­sion mak­ing at SAA

Swazi Observer - - NATIONAL NEWS -

JO­HAN­NES­BURG - For­mer SA Pres­i­dent Ja­cob Zuma's med­dling in de­ci­sion mak­ing at ail­ing na­tional car­rier the South African Air­ways (SAA) has come to light in an af­fi­davit sub­mit­ted to the Zondo Com­mis­sion of In­quiry prob­ing state cap­ture.

In a sub­mis­sion by Pub­lic En­ter­prises Min­is­ter Pravin Gord­han, he says it's ev­i­dent that for­mer Board Chair­per­son Dudu Myeni had Zuma's ear and used him to help her get her way.

Iron­i­cally, Gord­han is now tasked with sav­ing the air­line which has been on the brink of fi­nan­cial col­lapse.

Gord­han is only ex­pected to tes­tify be­fore the in­quiry next week, but his sub­mis­sion was leaked to the me­dia late on Wed­nes­day night.

The min­is­ter says when he took over as Fi­nance Min­is­ter for the sec­ond time in De­cem­ber 2015, his im­me­di­ate pri­or­ity was deal­ing with a pro­posed re­struc­tur­ing deal with Air­bus that had been ap­proved by his pre­de­ces­sor, Nh­lanhla Nene.

The pur­chase of 10 A320 air­craft would be swapped for the lease of five A330-300s. But Gord­han says Myeni wanted to change the deal to buy the planes in­stead.

It would have cost the air­line around R603 mil­lion at the time and cause it to de­fault on its debt re­pay­ments.

In the same month of his re-ap­point­ment, Gord­han says Zuma phoned him ask­ing whether what Myeni wanted was doable.

Gord­han says it was clear Myeni had con­tacted the for­mer Pres­i­dent and he ex­plained to him that the fis­cus could not af­ford the pre-pay­ments.

Even­tu­ally, the swap went ahead as ap­proved by Nene.

Gord­han says prior to his ap­point­ment, progress in re­plac­ing the SAA board had been slow and a com­pro­mise was reached for Myeni to serve an­other year.

SUB­MIS­SION: Pub­lic En­ter­prises Min­is­ter Pravin Gord­han.

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