The former board chairperson of cash-strapped national carrier SAA, Dudu Myeni, must immediately leave as an adviser in the transport department – an appointment criticised due to her links to state capture and close ties with former president Jacob Zuma.
Myeni’s departure comes after Blade Nzimande was made the new transport minister following President Cyril Ramaphosa’s Cabinet reshuffle.
“Advisers are appointed to their linked ministers and their terms of office. So she must leave. There is no notice given, she must leave,” said department spokesperson Ishmael Mnisi.
This is an automatic process. When a new minister is appointed, advisers selected by the previous minister automatically fall away, he added.
“She can only remain according to their contract which is non-renewable when the minister leaves.”
Myeni last year landed the top position as adviser to Nzimande’s predecessor, Joe Maswanganyi. Her appointment came just weeks after being ousted as SAA chairperson and was defended by the department.
Mnisi said Myeni’s appointment had only been on a part-time basis. It is not known how much Myeni was paid for this position, but previous media reports indicated she would earn R1 million annually.
The Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse (Outa) welcomed Myeni’s departure, labelling her as a concern in that position given her conduct with state-owned enterprises. It further lauded Nzimande for not retaining her.
Outa chairperson Wayne Duvenage said: “We just don’t believe she has fulfilled her role in her functions within state-owned entities and with the diligence that was required. Personal advisers are personal choices in matters for various reasons. And, obviously, it was a concern when she filled that role.”
The department previously reportedly stated that Myeni was selected to advise Maswanganyi not just on aviation but on other issues as well.
“We believe Maswanganyi took her on because suddenly she didn’t have a job and had time on her hands. And how do you keep someone who is a close friend of the (former) president remunerated well? Pay her as an adviser,” he said.
Duvenage called for reappointed Finance Minister Nhlanhla Nene to tackle contentious scandals involving Myeni, including her role played in the financial woes at SAA.