South Africa 10.3.2017 11:30 am

How Dudu Myeni collected dirt on senior executives, sent anonymous tip-offs

PRETORIA, SOUTH AFRICA – SEPTEMBER 09: Former South African Airways (SAA) Chairperson Dudu Myeni during a board meeting with Treasury on September 09, 2016 in Pretoria, South Africa. During the meeting, Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan announced the approval of R5 billion bailout application for the airline. (Photo by Gallo Images / Thapelo Maphakela)

PRETORIA, SOUTH AFRICA – SEPTEMBER 09: Former South African Airways (SAA) Chairperson Dudu Myeni during a board meeting with Treasury on September 09, 2016 in Pretoria, South Africa. During the meeting, Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan announced the approval of R5 billion bailout application for the airline. (Photo by Gallo Images / Thapelo Maphakela)

A close confidante of the SAA chair has blown the lid off how Dudu Myeni used internet cafes to send confidential information to the airline’s corruption hotline.

In a surprise twist, Myeni is alleged to have taken whistleblowing to another level by using the resources set up by the national carrier to advance career-damaging information about her colleagues.

The Mail and Guardian reports that Yakhe Kwinana, a chartered account who served as the SAA chair of the audit and risk management board, detailed how Myeni would allegedly assemble the information on senior executives, placing this in a notebook, and, on weekends, she would send all this evidence to the corruption hotline anonymously.

Kwinana advised her ex-colleague that this was an abuse of power, and she should use the right channels to relay the information. However, her pleas allegedly fell on deaf ears, as Myeni is said to have used the hotline about six times.

“I raised red flags about this because it was an abuse of power. I told her she was in a position of power and that she could have appointed a task team to investigate those matters. She would write the whistleblower report and then pretend it comes from outside. She told me people wouldn’t believe if it came from her,” said Kwinana.

Former chief excutive Monwabisi Kalawe and Sylvain Bosc were suspended as a result of the tip-offs.

She further claimed Myeni would collect the information from lower-level people and use it to compile her evidence against senior executives. The Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse (Outa) has brought a high court bid against Myeni to declare her unfit to hold a directorship of any country in SA.

“Outa has intentions to look into all avenues it can take to hold Yakhe Kwinana and others accountable for their role in questionable or unethical dealings at SAA,” said Ben Theron, Outa spokesperson.

Myeni is currently under fire after the DA called for her to be axed, as, under her leadership, SAA incurred a R1.16 billion fine for anti-competitive behaviour.

Comair had accused SAA 14 years ago of implementing an incentive scheme to travel agents that kept the agents loyal to the state-owned airline and excluded competitors, a violation of the Competition Act.

In terms of the judgment, SAA was ordered to pay Comair R554 million plus interest at 15.5 percent and costs amounting to about R1.16 billion.

Water Affairs Minister Nomvula Mokonyane was advised to fire Myeni from a water board in KwaZulu-Natal after allegations of gross mismanagement arose there. Email evidence shows how Myeni took millions meant for charity and channeled these funds for the funeral of a local ANC leader and to sponsor a provincial women’s leadership conference.

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