SAA's Dudu Myeni hits turbulence in Parly

Dudu Myeni has again been asked whether her resignation would not be a good move for SAA.

FILE: Chairperson of South African Airways Dudu Myeni. Picture: Gallo Images/Veli Nhlapo.

CAPE TOWN - South African Airways (SAA) board chairperson Dudu Myeni has again been asked whether her resignation would not be a good move for the ailing national carrier.

Myeni was re-appointed to the position for a year when a new board was named by Cabinet earlier this month.

Myeni arrived an hour-and-a-half late for today's meeting between SAA and Parliament's Standing Committee on Finance, saying she had been taken ill this morning.

Her absence meant it was up to SAA Acting Executives and Deputy Finance Minister Mcebisi Jonas to deal with most of the queries from Members of Parliament (MPs) about the national carrier's financial status.

The Democratic Alliance's David Maynier posed almost the same question he put to Myeni in Parliament a year ago: "Will the chairperson, in the light of the preliminary report tabled today, tell us whether she still believes that it is still in the best interests of the airline that she doesn't resign, and if she believes that, why does she believe that?"

Maynier also wanted to know whether Myeni had discussed her appointment with President Jacob Zuma, given suggestions that Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan opposed it.

Myeni told the committee that, like she did last year, she would respond in writing.

"But I just want to say for the benefit of this committee, I never appointed myself, the appointment of the board is a Cabinet decision."

SAA's losses for 2014/15 are R5,6 billion - almost a billion rand more than the figure announced last week.

Meanwhile, Jonas earlier today defended the nearly R5 billion guarantee extended to ailing SAA.

He said SAA needed the loan in order to sign off on its long-delayed 2014-2015 financial statements as a going concern.

"If we did not provide the going concern guarantee to SAA that would have posed systematic risks for all SOEs in the country."