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President may be turning a blind eye to controversial Dudu Myeni's wrong doings

The DA has called for SAA board chairperson Dudu Myeni to be fired with immediate effect. Picture: Simphiwe Mbokazi/Independent Media

WHATEVER hold Dudu Myeni has on President Jacob Zuma is obviously an incredibly strong one, for no matter how badly she mucks up, how badly the standing committee on public accounts (Scopa) slates her – or the entities under her control – he can find no reason to fire her.

Not even clear signals from moneylenders that they do not trust her – and would be unwilling to continue extending badly needed favourable loan conditions to the beleaguered SAA if she remained chairperson of the board – are sufficient to prompt Zuma into taking the most clear course of action available to him to save the national carrier.

Some of the issues the committee members questioned at a hearing last week are scarcely believable, being violations of basic principles of doing business.

Like why the airline has not signed contracts with service providers and is paying them on the back of letters of appointment. Or why SAA management opened a route to Abu Dhabi without doing the maths, only to cancel it later when it realised it was losing R330million a year.

Other issues include contracts that are automatically renewed, inconsistency in taking disciplinary action against errant staff, and sustained losses.

Let’s also not forget that Myeni was at the centre of the controversial Airbus swop deal in 2015, when she introduced amendments to an existing arrangement that would have unnecessarily introduced a leasing company as a middle man. Then finance minister Nhlanhla Nene may have lost his job for not approving the deal, only for Pravin Gordhan to come in and scotch the amendments.

It seems that those who try to do right by the airline keep losing their jobs, while those who appear determined to bring it down are impossible to remove.

Scopa members said they were concerned about the “lack of public responsibility and accountability” at SAA.

“This is evident in the lack of leadership that has contributed to the bankruptcy that the airline is facing. SAA management lacks any understanding of the sector and appears to have no idea what it is doing,” said committee chairperson Themba Godi.

What more does the president need to hear?