Zuma defends Myeni, quashing rumours of a romantic relationship

Durban – President Jacob Zuma on Saturday came to the defense of South African Airways board chairperson Dudu Myeni.

Zuma broke his silence on various issues including that he and Myeni were in a romantic relationship.

“Her relationship with the President is purely professional, and is based on the running of the Foundation.

“Rumours about a romance and a child are baseless and are designed to cast aspersions on the President,” read the statement.

In a previous interview with News24, Myeni, who is the chairperson of the Jacob Zuma Foundation, said her relationship with the president was professional.

In a statement released on Saturday afternoon Zuma said rumours that Myeni was the reason why Home Affairs Minister, Malusi Gigaba, did not finish his term as Public Enterprise Minister, were false.

“This is not true. Mr Gigaba served his full term as Minister of Public Enterprises until the elections in May 2014.

“All terms of office automatically lapse after elections.  A newly-elected President appoints a brand new Cabinet immediately after being sworn in.

“The new president is under no obligation to re-appoint persons who had served before and there is also no requirement that he should re-appoint people to portfolios they had held before, should he or she decide to include them in his or her new Cabinet.

“In line with this principle, Mr Gigaba was appointed as Minister of Home Affairs in the fifth administration.”

Addressing rumours that SAA was transferred to the National Treasury because Myeni demanded that it be so, the statement said, “This is grossly untrue. SAA was moved to the National Treasury so that it can be intensively supported to get out of difficulties by the National Treasury. That was the sole motivation.”

The statement stated that Zuma previously said there was no state-owned entity that could dictate to the government how it should be run.

“In addition, no chairperson of a board of a state owned company has the power to tell a government Department to which the entity reports, how to support or lead them.

“The President and government will be guided by the National Treasury on the response to the SAA challenges.

“Once the National Treasury advises that the SAA is on a better footing, it will be returned to the Department of Public Enterprises where it belongs.”

On rumours that former Finance Minister Nhlanhla Nene was axed because of the Myeni's Airbus swop deal, the statement said the rumous were malicious and fabricated.

“Mr Nene, as has been explained, is South Africa’s candidate to head up the African Regional Centre of the New Development Bank, BRICS Bank.

“SAA receives directives from the Minister of Finance and works under the guidance of that Ministry. 

“No member of the SAA Board is above the Minister of Finance or can operate outside of the mandate and direction provided by the Minister of Finance and the National Treasury.”

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