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SAA involved in another plane scandal

SAA Chair Dudu Myeni has proposed a new plane deal, which could cost government R1,5 billion.

If the original deal is not followed, Treasury would have to cough up R1,5 billion next month. Picture: FlySAA Facebook page.

JOHANNESBURG - National Treasury says it can't say at the moment whether a new plane deal being proposed by SAA Chair Dudu Myeni is worth pursuing, even though it appears it could cost government R1,5 billion.

Business Day reported this morning that Myeni wants to change a leasing agreement over Airbus planes, to a deal where a middle-man would purchase the planes on behalf of SAA.

If the original deal is not followed, Treasury would have to cough up R1,5 billion next month.

Treasury's Phumza Macanda says Finance Minister Nhlanhla Nene has now asked Myeni for more information about the deal she wants to pursue.

"Our minister, at this time, is unable to make a decision about whether it is a better deal or whether it is not better than the deal he had previously approved."

While Business Day journalists Carol Paton says Myeni won't reveal who SAA would actually be dealing with.

"Ms Myeni hasn't disclosed who the third party is, she hasn't disclosed to Airbus, she hasn't even disclosed to the chief financial officer of SAA."

This means the identity of a person or company who would be dealing in billions of rands through the deal, is not publicly known.

The finance ministry says Nene has asked Myeni for more information about the deal.

Macanda says they can't say at this stage whether this new proposal is better than the old deal.

"The minister does not have enough information to decide whether it is a good deal or not, therefore a deal that he should be concerned about."

Paton says Myeni appears to have political protection.

"Other board members, non-executive board members, who have written to cabinet ministers complaining about her activities, have been removed."

Earlier this year, Former SAA CEO Monwabisi Kalawe said in court papers President Jacob Zuma had moved Malusi Gigaba from the position of public enterprises minister because Myeni was angry with him.