When Mr president unceremoniously discharged Nene as the Finance minister, there were many insinuations about the president’s action. While the DA hinted that Zuma dismissed Nene because he (Nene) was bent on curtailing excessive government spending, it was as well rumored that Zuma removing Nene as Finance minister is him fulfilling a request from his romantic partner, Dudu Myeni.
The story circulating was that the SAA was transferred to the National Treasury to meet Myeni’s demand, and that Nene was fired as finance minister because he rejected Myeni’s alternative Airbus swap deal which is capable of damaging SAA financial stability.
Nene refused to buddy up with Myeni over the deal as he insisted the deal go on as approved in July where as Myeni and the SAA board wanted the deal amended. They wanted the deal to be transacted in such a manner that it will allow SAA purchase the A330-300 aircraft and then engage with local lessor in a sale and lease deal.
After taking a look at the alternative deal proposed by Myeni and her team, Nene as the Finance minister then, ordered SAA to implement the former transaction outlined which was going to make SAA swap the purchase of ten A320 aircraft for a lease of five A330-300 aircraft from Airbus. According to analysts, if the deal were implemented the way Nene ordered, SAA will no longer be tasked to make extra pre-delivery payments to Airbus estimated at R603 million.
The SAA board however, ignored Nene’s order and the removal of Nene as Finance minister by our president who is allegedly an intimate buddy of Myeni was followed up by the appointment of an “inexperienced” David van Rooyen who may have humbled to himself to the SAA alternative deal.
Anyway, South Africans were pissed with the removal of Nene to such extent that the president was forced to replace David with Gordhan. The Airbus deal as such, became the first major task for Pravin Gordhan as the new Finance minister. He gave the Myeni team another chance to make a presentation on what they are proposing, and then endorsed Nene’s stand on the deal, thereby avoiding the massive payment that was due yesterday.
Commenting on the latest development, Treasury stated that;
The National Treasury will work closely with Airbus and SAA to finalise the swap transaction…the pre-delivery payments that have already been paid, which total just more than $100m, will be refunded by Airbus…SAA will not be required to recognise impairments, as it will no longer be acquiring aircraft. It had been estimated that such impairments could have totalled in excess of R1bn…The implementation of the transaction will therefore improve the airline’s financial position by alleviating the cash flow pressure and improving its profitability. Further measures will be taken next year to stabilise the airline.