SAA debate: Malema takes aim at 'Dudu Myeni Zuma'

Cape Town - Opposition MPs came out all guns blazing on Tuesday when a debate was called on the challenges facing SAA.         

The debate was requested by EFF MP Floyd Shivambu, who couldn’t take part in the session because he had been ejected from the National Assembly earlier for not adhering to speaker Baleka Mbete’s requests that he should behave appropriately.

EFF leader Julius Malema spoke in Shivambu’s place and immediately raised the ire of ANC MPs when he repeatedly referred to SAA’s incumbent chairperson Dudu Myeni as “Dudu Myeni Zuma”.

The house chair ruled though that there was no stipulation in the National Assembly rules, which prohibited Malema from adding “Zuma” to Myeni’s last name.

Malema claimed that Myeni was unable to properly oversee the running of SAA, including its international offices, such as the one in Brazil.

“Under her leadership, the airline did not undergo any transformation in supply chain management. In fact, she appointed a German company to do SAA’s catering,” Malema added.

DA MP Alf Lees who is also his party’s spokesperson on SAA said in his speech that Myeni is “a corporate warlord” who is only interested in enriching herself and her cronies.

He alleged that Myeni conducted a “rein of tyranny” and that she was bullying fellow board members by taking away their cellphones and laptops before every meeting. “And at the end of the meeting she’d confiscate their notes. If I were a new board member I’d rather resign than being bullied,” Lees said.

Themba Godi, APC MP and chairperson of the standing committee on pubic accounts (Scopa) said the sorry state of affairs have continued at SAA over a number of years. “National Treasury granted a R5bn guarantee. It’s not the first; but will it be the last?”

Although he didn’t mention Myeni by name he said South Africa and its institutions needed leaders with “integrity and humility”.

The DA’s Natasha Mazzone said SAA’s flight routes were decided upon based on the ANC’s geopolitical interests. “It has been plagued by poor strategic and management decisions. And at the centre of it all is Dudu Myeni.”

She questioned how “one woman could hold such power over a government”.

“She has brought this country’s economy to its knees,” Mazzone said with reference to former finance minister Nhlanhla Nene’s dismissal over an alleged fallout with Myeni over an Airbus deal.

Read more on the Q&A in parliament:

Zuma vs Ramaphosa: Who is in charge of SOEs?

Zuma defends SAA chairperson Dudu Myeni

Zuma 'clueless' about his 9-point plan - DA

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