Johannesburg - Axed Finance Minister Nhlanhla Nene said no to South African Airways chairperson Dudu Myeni and Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir, the Mail & Guardian reported on Friday.
It was basically also a no to President Jacob Zuma who had asked, according to Myeni, that SAA open a new route to Khartoum in Sudan to show support to "his brother" Bashir.
Nene told Myeni in no uncertain terms that a route to Khartoum would be unprofitable and he would not allow it.
Four months later, in December last year, Nene was fired.
Zuma met with Bashir while on a visit to China in September to "strengthen relations" between the two countries, the Presidency said at the time.
"South Africa and Sudan enjoy warm bilateral relations. Sixteen bilateral agreements have been concluded between the two countries to date.
"South Africa seeks to further strengthen co-operation with Sudan in the fields of agriculture, agro-processing, science and technology, energy, infrastructure development, mining and retail," the Presidency said.
Bashir visited South Africa in June last year to attend an African Union summit. The government allowed him to leave, despite a court order instructing the South African government to detain him. The International Criminal Court wanted him to stand trial on charges including war crimes, crimes against humanity, and genocide.