South African Airways board chairperson Dudu Myeni has refused calls for her immediate resignation, saying she has no role to play in the company’s misfortune.
Dudu Myeni, who was reappointed SAA board chairperson few months back, has faced huge criticism from the public, especially the DA who had described her reappointment as “wholly irrational”.
Report has it that under Myeni, SAA was forced to reverse a controversial and costly agreement with little-known financier BnP Capital, later found to be without a Financial Services Board licence.
But in her latest reply to accusations, Myeni said she does not believe she has done anything to harm the national airline and blames past decisions for many of its current woes.
“The performance of SAA in the 2014/15 financial year is inextricably linked to the historical performance of the airline of at least the past 18 years. These decisions are ‘quite conveniently lumped on my doorstep,” she said as she laments the airline’s lack of economic transformation due to those “who are hanging onto their ill-gotten unearned privilege at the expense of the national imperatives.
“It is a serious concern that we preside over a state-owned company which continues to be dominated by one section of the society against the majority who receive crumbs from the R24bn procurement spend. Further, I have taken a dim view of the exclusive benefits enjoyed by the pilots. None of these glaring issues has received as much as a whimper from some people.”
Myeni thinks it is in the best interest of the airline and taxpayers that she serve her full term of office of two years, not least because she is championing transformation.
“I would have been a revered chairperson had I protected the status quo; the media would be hoisting me overhead and (giving me) standing ovation(s) as the most effective chairperson, while poverty, unemployment and inequality continue to affect those in the majority and many downtrodden.
“My problem results from doing what is right, investigating losses, dealing with corruption and ensuring that we transform the hugely skewed SAA. I therefore respectfully submit that I will not resign,
“The powerful vested interests have used every means available to defend and further entrench their positions to the exclusion of the majority of the people. In the process, the board, and particularly, currently, the chairperson have been attacked by various forums including the media,” she wrote in a letter addressed to the chairperson of Parliament’s standing committee on finance Yunus Carrim in response to a question posed by DA finance spokesperson David Maynier during a committee hearing in September
Dudu Myeni went on to criticize the SAA Pilots Association using every means to resist the attempts to restructure the pilots’ unprecedented evergreen contracts that are a significant drain on SAA’s cash-flow.
“The pilots are costing the SAA in excess of R600m per year in excessive guaranteed benefits,” she says. “The structure of these agreements is such that even if SAA were to be sold to another shareholder, they (the agreements) would continue to bind the new shareholder.”
She said this is a matter of public record that the SAA Pilots Association recently petitioned the courts to stop the Board from slashing their benefits.
“SAA buys cars for pilots. Yet again this matter, which threatens the sustainability of SAA, is a non-issue for those who continue to attack the airline’s leadership. Why?” she asked.