Dudu Myeni (Duduzile Cynthia Myeni) is a South African businesswoman and a member of the African National Congress party. She’s currently the chairperson of South African Airways SOC Limited and the Executive Chairperson of the Jacob G Zuma Foundation.
Dudu Myeni was born on the 29th of October 1963, she is highly connected; having a very close relationship with the Zuma family.
Myeni is the founder of the consulting firm “Skills Dynamics”. She founded the company in 1999; the company has since facilitated a number of social development programmers on behalf of various Government Departments and major corporations in and around Richards Bay.
Dudu Myeni got her first appointment to the South African Airways Board of Directors in 2009. Three years later, Myeni was appointed Chairperson of the board; following the sudden resignation of eight of its Directors, including the company’s then chairperson (Cheryl Carolus).
In March 2015 South African Airways signed an agreement with Airbus as part of the airline’s turnaround plan to lease 5 Airbus A330s. In October 2015, without involving South African Airways executives, Myeni informed Airbus that the airways would be renegotiating the agreement to instead be an outright sale to an unnamed third party that would purchase the planes on SAA’s behalf.
This raised concerns around corruption by-passing normal procurement process and triggered a clause in the original agreement that any renegotiation of the agreement would need to be approved by the Ministry of Finance. In an editorial Myeni stated that the reason why a third party rental company was needed was so as to mitigate the impact of volatile exchange rates on the running costs of the aircraft thereby reducing the airline’s foreign currency exposure.
In early December 2015 the then Minister of Finance, Nhlanhla Nene, re-looked into the Myeni’s request to renegotiate the deal. This was one of the suspected causes for controversial replacement of Nene as minister by president Zuma a week later with David van Rooyen.
This caused a public outcry and a strongly negative reaction by international markets that led to van Rooyen’s replacement four days later by the better known former minister of finance Pravin Gordhan (2009-2014). Gordhan rejected Myeni’s request and instead announced that the original agreement to lease the planes would be implemented.