Myeni threatened Dahwa’s job over illegal tender approval

Dahwa had refused to set aside 30% of a procurement budget at SAA for certain companies that SAA would do business with.

Dudu Myeni. Picture: The Presidency/Flickr

JOHANNESBURG – Former South African Airways (SAA) Chief Procurement Officer Masimba Dahwa has accused former SAA board chairperson Dudu Myeni of threatening to not extend his contract when he refused to break the law.

Dahwa had refused to set aside 30% of a procurement budget at SAA for certain companies that SAA would do business with.

He testified at the Zondo Commission of inquiry on Friday.

Dahwa says after she refused Myeni's instruction to break the law she threatened his job.

He says he was pressured by Myeni to award a certain company a tender without it having gone to an open process.

And he refused.

“Like I indicated chair in my presentation; right before we’ve DTI and the National Treasury coming to tell us that this is illegal, on my own as a professional I advisor in the public-sector procurement, I knew that it was wrong.”

Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo was shocked at the revelation.

“What did the two board members say to you whenever you said that, that what you’re doing is against the law, this is not right. Did you ever put it like that to them that they are asking you to break the law?.”

Myeni has indicated that she intends to apply to cross-examine Dahwa.


Evidence leader advocate Kate Advocate Hofmeyr on Friday told the Zondo Commission of Inquiry into state capture that Myeni’s lawyers would apply to cross-examine two witnesses.

It's understood Myeni's application has not yet been submitted.

Hofmeyer said Myeni's lawyers indicated which witnesses she intended to cross-examine. Both were former SAA employees, including Dahwa.

Myeni was implicated at the inquiry, with her name coming up a number of times. Earlier this month, former SAA finance boss Phumeza Nhantsi testified that she feared for her safety. She said her fears were linked to Myeni’s orders. She accused Myeni of asking staff to “do illegal things”.

The inquiry also heard how the SAA board, while being chaired by Myeni, carried out irregular decisions. This was among the submissions by the national carrier’s former treasurer Cynthia Stimpel.

Stimpel said ordinarily, and as is practice, the SAA business units would identify needs, drive the assessment process and submit recommendations to the board.

But she said a new trend was emerging with that board.

“What I’ve been seeing is the same that in January was the initial approval for transaction advisor and then only comes through the adjudication committee.

“Then changed the scope of the transaction advisor, then it comes through an adjudication committee; that’s not how SAA should be functioning from a corporate governance perspective.”

Stimpel said her numerous concerns and objections were simply ignored.

(Edited by Leeto M Khoza)