EXCLUSIVE: SAA chair invites mystery Zuma to jet fuel talks

2016-07-13 14:22
Dudu Myeni (Amanda Khoza, News24)

Dudu Myeni (Amanda Khoza, News24)

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Johannesburg - South African Airways (SAA) chairperson Duduzile Myeni last year requested that the troubled airline's chief procurement officer add the name of Sizwe Zuma to a list of potential new jet fuel suppliers.

Myeni is viewed as a staunch supporter of President Jacob Zuma and also chairs the Jacob Zuma Foundation.

An email sent to SAA's former procurement boss Masimba Dahwa on September 10, 2015, in which Myeni requests that one Sizwe Zuma and ten other companies be included on a list of entities to be invited to a "jet fuel supplier engagement" in Durban, has sparked speculation over whether Sizwe Zuma is in any way related to the president.

SAA's jet fuel contracts are worth some R10bn per year and the airline is currently in the process of finding new empowerment partners to benefit from these lucrative contracts.

Presidency spokesperson Bongani Ngqulunga has denied that a Sizwe Zuma is a "blood relation" of the president, while SAA spokesperson Tlali Tlali and Myeni both refused to divulge details as to who Sizwe Zuma is or which jet fuel company he represents.

Links to the family

But a News24 investigation shows that a Sizwe Christopher Zuma is closely linked to the president’s family:

- An article 21 company called Janozuma Foundation, of which Nonkululeko Mhlongo, the mother of two of Jacob Zuma's children, is a co-director, lists Sizwe Zuma as one of its other directors. Photos on the Facebook page of an events company that organised the foundation's launch in Pietermaritzburg last year show Jacob Zuma addressing the audience. Yogi Naidoo, the Janozuma Foundation's spokesperson, told News24 that Sizwe Zuma is a family member of Jacob Zuma. She did not want to provide further details.

- Daily Dispatch photographer Lulamile Feni travelled to Nkandla alongside AbaThembu King Buyelekhaya Dalindyebo in December 2014, where Dalindyebo apologised to Jacob Zuma following earlier remarks he'd made about the president. Feni says a "Sizwe Zuma" - described as Jacob Zuma's son in the Daily Dispatch article - was in the president's camp during the meeting. "Sizwe has now grown up to be a real man among men," the newspaper quoted Zuma as saying after Dalindyebo and the president had made their peace. Sizwe Zuma was credited as having been instrumental in facilitating the truce between the two leaders. AbaThembu chief Mfundo Mtirara, who acts as Dalindyebo's spokesperson, and who also played a role in setting up the meeting, confirmed to News24 that Sizwe Zuma was presented to him as Zuma's son.

- An employment history for Sizwe Zuma shows that he has listed the "Presidential Protection Unit" as one of his earlier employers, while he has also listed the "presidential estate" in Bryntirion, Pretoria, where Jacob Zuma's Pretoria residence is located, as his residential address.

Though SAA and Myeni failed to clarify which corporate entity the Sizwe Zuma included by Myeni in her email had represented, in terms of becoming a potential jet fuel supplier, Sizwe Christopher Zuma is listed as a director of a company called Sokhulu Petroleum SA. One of his co-directors in the company told News24 that Sizwe Zuma was Jacob Zuma's nephew.

No comment 

Ngqulunga would not comment on why Sizwe Zuma was presented as Jacob Zuma's son in the Dalindyebo matter, or why Zuma had made a reference to Sizwe Zuma having become a man.

"Only Sizwe can answer the question of how he got involved in the Dalindyebo matter. As to why the people you have spoken to thought or think he is related by blood to the president is a question that I'm unable to answer. You have to check with them," said Ngqulunga.

News24 made several attempts to get comment from Sizwe Zuma. He answered his phone on Monday, but told News24 that he could only speak later. He has since failed to answer his phone.

He has also not responded to our WhatsApp messages, however the blue tick marks in the messaging app suggests he has read them.

"[SAA had] initiated stakeholder engagement sessions called supplier summits, with the first one taking place in Johannesburg in June 2015," says Tlali.

The sessions were aimed at empowering potential suppliers to SAA "with information that enables them to better understand SAA’s procurement processes".

According to Tlali, SAA's senior leadership were inundated with interested parties who wanted more information on the airline's procurement programmes.

"The chairperson of the board [Myeni], who pioneered the summit and launched the first one, was not spared from those who approached the airline with inquiries. Ms Myeni then consolidated a list of names of those who had approached her to inquire about the summits at that time and forwarded the list to the then head of procurement for inclusion in the list of individuals who would be invited to the next supplier summit," explained Tlali.

Read more on:    saa  |  dudu myeni  |  fuel

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