Dudu Myeni. Picture: SUPPLIED
Dudu Myeni. Picture: SUPPLIED

The Presidency denied on Sunday that a decision had been taken to transfer oversight of South African Airways (SAA) from the Treasury to the Department of Transport.

Presidential spokesman Bongani Ngqulunga said this in response to a Sunday Times report that former SAA chairwoman Dudu Myeni — a close friend of President Jacob Zuma — had been appointed a special adviser to Transport Minister Joe Maswanganyi. Myeni was removed from SAA in October after having served three successive terms as chairwoman.

The newspaper said the government was considering placing SAA under the control of the Department of Transport, which would once again put Myeni in a position to hold sway over the national airline. The report quoted Maswanganyi as confirming the move. It also said the country’s major banks had warned they might make calls on R8bn worth of loans to SAA if the airline was no longer under tight Treasury control.

But Ngqulunga said while there were many views about where state-owned enterprises might be better located as government continued to look for ways of improving their performance, this was not so at SAA.

"SAA remains located at the National Treasury where it will continue to receive support and guidance as it rebuilds itself following the appointment of a new board and CEO," he said.

The DA’s deputy finance spokesman, Alf Lees, said a move of SAA from Treasury would "recklessly" undermine the hard-won steps taken to save the airline, namely the appointment of a new board, new CEO Vuyani Jarana and aviation specialist Peter Davies.

ensorl@businesslive.co.za

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