The EFF vows to ground Myeni without the help of law enforcement agencies captured by Zuma

The Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) have set their sights on controversial SAA board chairperson Dudu Myeni, and have vowed to “expose her for self-enrichment” using state-owned companies.

Seemingly buoyed by its success in getting President Jacob Zuma to “pay back the money” for Nkandla, the party says it will doggedly continue to investigate Myeni and “uncover her deals”.

Myeni confirmed having received the Mail & Guardian’s questions but did not respond further. After multiple attempts to reach her again, Myeni refused to comment.

The party said that it did not intend pressing criminal charges against Myeni because “nothing happens”.

“The problem is that the Hawks and National Prosecuting Authority are political institutions under Zuma. [This influences] our decision on whether or not to take it up with law enforcement agencies. We have many cases we can bring before them but nothing happens,” said the EFF’s chief whip, Floyd Shivambu.


Speaking in Parliament on Tuesday, the EFF accused Myeni’s son, Thalente, of benefiting financially from Myeni’s close relation- ship with the president.

Thalente made headlines this week when the news broke that he was one of a group of politically connected stakeholders who cashed in their shares in a R51-billion Prasa contract for new passenger train carriages, to be built locally, before any had been built.

Myeni is the chairperson of the Jacob Zuma Foundation.

In Parliament, EFF leader Julius Malema repeatedly called Myeni “Dudu Myeni-Zuma”, and accused Thalente of “collecting bags of money from people who want to meet Zuma”.

Senior ANC MPs, Minister of Social Development Bathabile Dlamini and Minister of Small Business Development Lindiwe Zulu rushed to Myeni’s defence, demanding that Malema stop referring to her as Myeni-Zuma, and asking the House to allow her to respond to the allegations.

But the EFF is undeterred and Shivambu maintains that it will “continue to [expose Myeni] when we uncover her deals”.

Thalente could not be reached for comment.

In the midst of her battle to disprove her SAA detractors, the news broke last week that she had been appointed chairperson of a KwaZulu-Natal water board that has not yet been created.

Water Affairs Minister Nomvula Mokonyane’s decision to appoint Myeni is being challenged in the Pietermaritzburg high court by the former chief executive of the Mhlathuze board, Sibusiso Makhanya. This is the second time he has challenged her.

The Mhlathuze water board is in the process of being dismantled and will be merged with the much bigger Umgeni water board.

Myeni’s third term as head of the Mhlathuze water board lapsed in February last year. Mokonyane extended it and a court bid to have her removed failed. The court was told by Makhanya that Myeni demonstrated tyrannical control.

Her appointment to the yet-to-be-created board has been flagged by the treasury, which has deep reservations about the move.

The SAA Pilots’ Association is also unhappy about the decision to keep her on as chairperson of the airline’s board. The pilots have questioned her abilities and whether Myeni is the right person to lead SAA.

“The SAA Pilots’ Association called for a fit-for-purpose board a year ago,” said the association’s chairperson, Jimmy Conroy. “Myeni was the chairperson of the board at the time. She hasn’t done anything since to convince us that she is the best person in the country to lead the national carrier out of its current financial situation.”

The association passed an overwhelming vote of no confidence in Myeni last year at a meeting attended by 472 members after the chairperson described their salaries as exorbitant and unaffordable.

Despite their reservations and public clashes with Myeni, the association is more hopeful about the other board members, which includes nonexecutive directors Nazmeera Moola, an Investec Asset Management economist and strategist, and Thandeka Mgoduso, who has served on the board of the Reserve Bank.

“Some arrive with good reputations and I have been told that it is a strong board which will be able to curb undesirable activities. The airline industry is a highly competitive, dynamic and technical industry with little room for error. Will the current board be up to the task? It’s going to be a tough ask. Time will tell,” Conroy said.

Despite failing to produce SAA’s financial statements for three years and taking the embattled airline to the brink of business rescue, Myeni survived the chop when Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan conducted an overhaul of the SAA board.

She was reappointed as chairperson for one year by Gordhan, who accepted Zuma’s condition that she be kept on, thereby narrowly averting a national crisis, reports said. SAA was at risk of being plunged into either liquidation or business rescue without new government guarantees, which were not going to be released until a new board was installed. It could have caused even greater damage to the ailing rand.

The clash over Myeni’s position at SAA has resulted in months of protracted negotiations between Zuma and Gordhan, who had refused to allow her reappointment.

Speaking at the Open Book Festival in Cape Town, Gordhan said Myeni could not run the board as she has in the past.

Subscribe to the M&G

These are unprecedented times, and the role of media to tell and record the story of South Africa as it develops is more important than ever.

The Mail & Guardian is a proud news publisher with roots stretching back 35 years, and we’ve survived right from day one thanks to the support of readers who value fiercely independent journalism that is beholden to no-one. To help us continue for another 35 future years with the same proud values, please consider taking out a subscription.

Govan Whittles

Govan Whittles is a general news and political multimedia journalist at the Mail & Guardian. Born in King William's Town in the Eastern Cape, he cut his teeth as a radio journalist at Primedia Broadcasting. He produced two documentaries and one short film for the Walter Sisulu University, and enjoys writing about grassroots issues, national politics, identity, heritage and hip-hop culture.

Related stories

Richard Calland: Not much has shuffled in the political pack

Stocktake at the end of a momentous year shows that the ruling party holds all the cards but has little room for manoeuvre

Political elites, not foreigners, are to blame for South Africa’s problems

What if we told foreigners to voetsek? We have fallen victim to the illusion of scarcity. And we are led to wrongly believe immigrants are a threat

Shadow of eviction looms over farm dwellers

In part two of a series on the lives of farm dwellers, Tshepiso Mabula ka Ndongeni finds a community haunted by the scourge of eviction

SAA funds may need a top-up

Industry experts predict the R10.5-billion from the treasury to rescue the airline may not be enough, but the rescue practitioners say the money is enough to ‘settle the sins of the past’

Two MECs fail to understand their harmful blunders

The Western Cape’s Debbie Schäfer missed the point about racism and the North West’s Mmaphefo Matsemela undermined the dignity of a young man

‘Let ANC deal with its leaders facing corruption charges,’ Ramaphosa tells parliament

The president was answering questions before parliament, where he also told the EFF to allow the courts to decide on the matter of the CR17 bank statements
Advertising

Subscribers only

FNB dragged into bribery claims

Allegations of bribery against the bank’s chief executive, Jacques Celliers, thrown up in a separate court case

Dozens of birds and bats perish in extreme heat in...

In a single day, temperatures in northern KwaZulu-Natal climbed to a lethal 45°C, causing a mass die-off of birds and bats

More top stories

North West premier goes off the rails

Supra Mahumapelo ally Job Mokgoro’s defiance of party orders exposes further rifts in the ANC

Construction sites are a ‘death trap’

Four children died at Pretoria sites in just two weeks, but companies deny they’re to blame

Why the Big Fish escape the justice net

The small fish get caught. Jails are used to control the poor and disorderly and deflect attention from the crimes of the rich and powerful.

Koko claims bias before Zondo commission

In a lawyer’s letter, the former Eskom chief executive says the commission is not being fair to him
Advertising

press releases

Loading latest Press Releases…