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Dudu Myeni has been removed as South African Airways board chairperson, meaning her contract won’t be renewed and effectively ending her control of the embattled national carrier.
Minister of finance Malusi Gigaba and Treasury announced the appointment of six new board members and Myeni’s removal.
“The Minister of Finance, Malusi Gigaba, is pleased to officially announce the appointment of six new members to the Board of South African Airways (SAA), as well as the full slate of non-executive board members at the airline, which have been approved by the Cabinet.
Joining the Board is Mr. Johannes Bhekumuzi Magwaza as the new Chairperson, and Ms. Nolitha Fakude as the Deputy Chairperson and non-executive director,” National Treasury said in a statement.
Four other members were announced to serve as non-executive directors. They are Geoff Rothschild, Ahmed Bassa, Tinyiko Mhlari, and Martin Kingston. They will join eight other board members who retained their positions.
“Current non-executive directors who will continue to serve on the Board are: Bajabulile Swazi Tshabalala, Peter Tshisevhe, Thandeka Nozipho Mogoduso, Peter Holmes Maluleka, and Akhter Hoosen Moosa.”
Other Board members who were removed along with Myeni are Tryphosa Ramano, Mzimkulu Malunga, Siphile Buthelezi, Nazmeera Moola, and Gugu Sepamla.
The changes will be with effective from 3 November 2017, when Gigaba will have a special meeting with the new Board.
“The new Board brings talent, expertise and energy to the airline, and they are all highly
regarded individuals with a vast and in-depth knowledge of business in both the private and
public sectors. The Minister hopes that the new Board, together with the incoming Chief Executive Officer, Vuyani Jarana, will implement the airline’s structural strategy and bring it to financial stability, as set out in his 14 Confidence Boosting Measures. The new Board is well experienced and diverse, and the Minister encourages them to ignore the political noise, and focus on the business of strengthening SAA,” said Treasury.
Her removal was welcomed by opposition parties. The Economic Freedom Fighters said it welcomed the long-overdue removal of the “incompetent, interfering, and delinquent director Dudu Myeni, who for more than 8 years was a menace to the airline.”
Spokesperson Mbuyiseni Ndlozi said under Myeni’s leadership, SAA failed to gain the necessary stability and instead became a huge financial liability to the State.
“Dudu Myeni represented an epitome of nepotistic incompetence because even in her failure, her friend and close ally, Mr Jacob Zuma did everything in his power to protect her at the expense of the airline,” he said.
Ndlozi added that her removal was due to Zuma giving into pressure from the party.
“The EFF is aware that the removal of Dudu Myeni represents Jacob Zuma’s capitulation to the EFF’s pressure that she must be removed. The EFF even tabled a special motion in parliament on the removal of Dudu Myeni and ensured that the Standing Committee on Finance resolves that she must go. We are also aware that Lenders to SAA threatened to recall their loans to SAA if Dudu Myeni remained as Chairperson,” he said.
The party however raised concerns over the relationships of the new members with Zuma.
“We are however concerned with some of the individuals, in particular, Roschild who’s said to have close money relations with Mr Jacob Zuma.The EFF will be closely monitoring the work of the new board and will continue with the vigilance we demonstrated when SAA was under the misgovernance of Dudu Myeni” he said.
The Congress of the People welcomed the decision but questioned why it took so long. “Her removal talks less to positive action by Zuma, but rather to continual pressure exerted by opposition parties, civil society groupings, and financiers. As a consequence of Myeni’s corrupt leadership and bad governance of SAA, Zuma’s government was ultimately forced to Act. Bear in mind that Myeni was adamant that she would only leave when ‘u baba goes’,” said the party.