Concern over SAA head appointment

2012-12-14 00:00

DUDU Myeni’s anticipated appointment as the chairperson of South African Airways in January next year has received mixed reactions due to her ties to President Jacob Zuma.

She chairs the Jacob Zuma Foundation and this could be seen as a conflict of interest.

Sister newspaper City Press reported yesterday that sources close to the board said that members of the SAA board were informed of the decision this week.

Board members were said to be concerned that a political appointment is the wrong decision during a turbulent time in the aviation industry and at the national flagship carrier.

Political analyst Zakhele Ndlovu said state enterprises that struggled did so because they were not appointing the “right people”.

“Is she the right person? We’d only be able to tell that after she’s done some work. It is difficult to say if she’s the right person right now,” Ndlovu said of Myeni, who hails from Richards Bay.

However, he added that it was unfair to say that because someone was politically connected, they would not be competent at doing their job.

The Democratic Alliance’s shadow minister of public enterprises, Natasha Michael, said appointing someone with such close ties to the president was “slightly concerning”.

She said Myeni had courted controversy in her previous positions, including as chairperson of the Mhlathuze Water Board, after a selection panel decided that she should not be reappointed earlier this year.

“We deserve an explanation. The Jacob Zuma Foundation is a full time job. Where will she find the time to run the SAA and the Zuma foundation?” asked Michael.

The National Freedom Party was, however, full of praise for Myeni.

“As a party, we would like to congratulate her …” said NFP spokesperson Nhlanhla Khubisa.

He said his only concern was that she seemed to have “too many irons in the fire” and was serving in a number of positions.

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