Zuma defends SAA’s Myeni

President Zuma has told Parliament he has full confidence in Myeni to turn around the ailing parastatal.

Chairperson of South African Airways Dudu Myeni. Picture: whoswho.co.za

CAPE TOWN - President Jacob Zuma has defended South African Airways (SAA) chair Dudu Myeni's reappointment.

Zuma has told Parliament he has full confidence in Myeni to turn around the ailing parastatal.

The president has been answering questions in the National Assembly today.

President Zuma addressed widespread concern and responded to criticism over the reappointment of Myeni as chair of the SAA board.

Earlier this month, Myeni was reappointed to serve a one-year term.

Zuma says he's seen Myeni working and notices no difference in the work she's done and that done by her predecessors.

The Democratic Alliance (DA's) Mmusi Maimane pointed out Myeni made the cut despite being excluded from a new SAA board proposed by Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan.

Myeni's so-called alliance with the president has also been questioned by opposition MPs in the National Assembly today.

Tensions began to rise when Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) leader Julius Malema turned his attention to Myeni.

"Mrs Dudu Myeni-Zuma has special relationship with the President and therefore spends most of the time presiding over a personal foundation of the president of the ANC."

The African National Congress' Lindiwe Zulu tried to protect her.

"Every citizen of South Africa needs to be protected because Dudu Myeni doesn't have the surname Zuma."

Malema then stood up, referring to Zuma as a criminal.

"This criminal witch sitting here, is troubling this man [Pravin Gordhan] and if you are not going to defend the Minister of Finance and you defend a criminal, you must know that there will be no country left. Let us remove Dudu Myeni and Jacob Zuma from power."

The EFF leader also called for clarity around the re-instatement of Myeni, accusing her of abusing her proximity to President Zuma and lacking the backing of the airline's pilots.

Malema used the opportunity to call for Myeni to step down.

"Under Dudu Myeni-Zuma, the international offices of the SAA have not been efficiently managed, including the Brazil office where the money generated by the SAA was not deposited into the main account of the SAA."

The EFF leader also went on to say that under Myeni's rule of the SAA board, it has taken a nosedive.