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Former SAA chair Dudu Myeni. Picture: RAYMOND PRESTON.
Former SAA chair Dudu Myeni. Picture: RAYMOND PRESTON.

Former SAA chair Dudu Myeni’s invocation of her privilege not to answer questions before the state capture inquiry, citing self-incrimination, could not save her from damning findings against her.

The first part of the Zondo commission’s report‚ released on Tuesday evening‚ laid the blame for the carrier’s problems squarely at the door of Myeni and her ally Yakhe Kwinana‚ who chaired SAA Technical during her tenure.

The inquiry found that the duo‚ in their respective powerful positions‚ as well as co-board members of the parent company‚ ruled with an iron fist and crushed anyone who stood in their way and that of the business interests they represented.

This‚ the report says‚ led to the ultimate collapse of governance at the national carrier and widespread corruption and looting.

The commission’s investigations found that all board members and members of management at SAA and SAAT who opposed Myeni and Kwinana were dealt with harshly.

According to the report‚ Myeni’s initial appointment as SAA board chairperson was for nefarious reasons‚ as she had been an underperforming board member and sometimes failed to turn up for meetings.

“The management style and approach of both Ms Myeni and Ms Kwinana enabled acts of fraud and corruption to engulf the entities [SAA and SAAT]‚” said Zondo.

According to the report‚ SAA’s decline can be located in the last quarter of 2012‚ after the resignation of eight board members out of frustration with then public enterprises minister Malusi Gigaba.

Of what had been 12 board members‚ only three remained‚ including Myeni and Kwinana‚ who would play the two most central roles in the years to come as chairs of their organisations.

The commission found that Myeni failed at the very basic principle of upholding the oath of office she took on December 7, 2012‚ when she ascended to the position of SAA chair.

It continues that Myeni ruled with total control and was not accountable to anyone‚ including her fellow board members‚ and missed meetings whenever she was expected to explain decisions she took behind the backs of the rest of the board.

Among Myeni’s actions‚ the reports noted‚ was her misrepresentations to the minister of public enterprises in 2013 on the issues of the Pembroke Capital transaction.

In this matter‚ the inquiry found‚ Myeni had sent at least two letters to the minister purporting to communicate board resolutions when they were‚ in fact‚ her decisions alone.

“It was put to Ms Myeni during her evidence that she had knowingly misrepresented to the minister of public enterprises in 2013 that the board of SAA had resolved to change the Pembroke transaction in circumstances where she knew that they had not done so and that the misrepresentation cost SAA in the order of R800m.

“It is likely that her conduct constitutes the crime of fraud. The commission recommends that the NPA considers‚ subject to such further investigation as may be considered necessary‚ whether Ms Myeni should be prosecuted for fraud‚” the report reads.

The report also comes down hard on Myeni’s conduct during her appearances at the oral hearings of the commission‚ where she mostly chose not to answer‚ saying it was her privilege against self-incrimination.

According to the report‚ that invocation on its own was an abuse of process and suggested that Myeni was determined to do anything to evade accountability.

She did little to endear herself to the inquiry when she revealed the real name of a witness who had been masked as Mr X.

“The evidence of Mr X also merits further detailed investigation and possible charges of corruption being laid against all the individuals involved in the scheme to securing millions of rand for the personal benefit of Ms Myeni and the Jacob Zuma Foundation.”



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