Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan has submitted a list of names for the new board of SAA, and it includes current chairperson Dudu Myeni, who is said to have played a role in the fallout between former finance minister Nhlanhla Nene and President Jacob Zuma last year.
According to Business Day, 13 names were sent to cabinet, and 12 of these will be approved for the SAA Board. Myeni’s name is on the list, and she is expected to be reappointed to her role of chairperson.
“She will be chair, and her contract is for two years, and cannot be extended, but the proviso is that there is a review of the positions and performance of the chair and deputy chair every two years,” a source told the daily newspaper.
The people on the list are said to be allies of Myeni and Zuma, which is seen as a concession by Gordhan to Zuma’s demands of having a board that is favourable to the president.
“Perhaps Treasury was left with no choice,” said another source.
Gordhan had submitted a list without Myeni’s name earlier this year, which was apparently ignored by Zuma.
Myeni has been at the helm of the embattled SAA, which is in serious debt and faces grounding of its planes. This week, the airline took out an advert calling for R16 billion in funding.
It said it needed the money to fund working and capital expenditure and to consolidate its debt.
The airline is facing huge pressure to release its financial reports showing solvency, or it could have its planes grounded. The group needs a guarantee from National Treasury for over R5 billion, which Gordhan was holding back until a new board was elected.
SAA has received a number of government bailouts worth at least R14.4 billion.