Cape Town – South African Airways chairperson Dudu Myeni cut a lonely figure in Parliament on Tuesday when she was the only member of the board who arrived for a briefing with the standing committee on finance.
Floyd Shivambu from the Economic Freedom Fighters wanted to know where the rest of the 12-member board was. “The reason why they are not here is because they are being bullied by a person who doesn’t even attend (board) meetings,” he said in reference to Myeni.
“This is the reason why they say they can’t come, because she doesn’t know what’s going on. She could only bully the CFO (Phumeza Nhantsi) to be here. This woman must leave SAA as soon as possible.”
Other members of the committee also expressed unhappiness about the absence of the rest of the board. Alf Lees from the Democratic Alliance said it seems that there is a boycott of the meeting. “None of the key players are here today. It does seem that the chair of the board has lost control of her board members.”
ANC MPs Pinky Kekana and Thandi Tobias called for the meeting to be adjourned as important matters, such as the discussion of its turnaround plan, financial performance and debt maturities, cannot be discussed in the absence of the rest of the board.
They questioned reports that surfaced in the Sunday Times over the weekend that Myeni allegedly misled Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba about the appointment of a permanent CEO at SAA.
Black First Land First's misplaced attack on Gordhan
David Maynier, DA spokesperson on finance, alluded to the fact that members of the standing committee on finance received a letter from the Black First Land First (BFLF) Movement on Monday, in which the organisation demanded that former finance minister Pravin Gordhan “recused himself” from the committee meeting.
BLF however erroneously assumed that Gordhan is a member of the standing committee on finance. Gordhan, however, represents the ANC on the portfolio committee on public enterprises.
In a 10-page letter, BLF president Andile Mngxitama made arguments for the removal of Gordhan as a member of the committee, saying among other things that Gordhan is “not impartial”, as he is “beholden to white monopoly capital”.
'Gordhan must go!'
“In all of the above circumstances, there is clearly a strong apprehension of bias on the part of Pravin Gordhan. He is to this end conflicted, compromised and captured by white settler monopoly capital and consequently not a fit and proper person to be part of or sitting on the standing committee on finance and considering issues and questions arising out of the briefing by the SAA.
“He must in the first place recuse himself from this matter for the reasons indicated above and secondly he must be removed as a member of the standing committee on finance. Gordhan must go!”
The DA pushed for the meeting to go ahead, while ANC MPs argued for an adjournment, as it would be unfair towards Myeni to be held accountable without the rest of the board members being present.
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