SAA boss Dudu Myeni and President Jacob Zuma. Picture: GCIS
SAA boss Dudu Myeni and President Jacob Zuma. Picture: GCIS

Forget Nelson Mandela. Forget Mother Teresa. Of course they are great people. But me, I want to be Dudu Myeni when I grow up.

I know that you’ve all been shaking your Calvinistic heads over Cyril Ramaphosa and his domestic troubles. Well, I’ve been thinking about how SA Airways (SAA) board chair Myeni shows the middle finger to all conceptions of corporate governance.

City Press has reported that Myeni has vowed to stay on as chair of SAA’s board "until ubaba goes".

The paper wrote: "Three senior SAA executives and another source close to the board told City Press that Myeni had informed those in her close circle ... that she would not step down until President Jacob Zuma, known as ‘ubaba’, finished his second term of office in 2019."

Why does Myeni stay? She is a survivor. And she has the full backing of ubaba. He is going nowhere, so she is going nowhere. What a heroine

Yes, I know she has a bad reputation. I also know that this bad rep is well deserved. After all, she is chair of the JG Zuma Trust, and that is bankrupt — as is SAA. And she has had her hand on the tiller there since, well, forever.

Yet you can’t dispute that Myeni has some kind of power. She has seen off a number of finance ministers and stayed in power despite bankrupting SAA. First Pravin Gordhan tried to clean up the airline. He was shown the door. Nhlanhla Nene? He was given the heave-ho. David Des van Rooyen lasted four days. Gordhan came back and gave Myeni a year. He is gone now. She is still there, and running rings around the hapless new finance minister, Malusi Gigaba.

Why does she stay, despite private lenders, parliament and virtually every frequent flyer demanding she hop off? She is a survivor. And she has the full backing of ubaba. He is going nowhere, so she is going nowhere — which means bigger losses, worse service, no consequences and greater turbulence at SAA. What a heroine. What a stayer!

No fly-by-night

Here’s hoping that a Maboneng tapas and cocktail bar has the staying power of SA Airways chair Dudu Myeni

It makes me want to eat and drink. So off I went with my lovely wife to Al Lado in Joburg’s Maboneng precinct.

Al Lado *** ½

303 Fox Street 
Maboneng, Johannesburg
Tel: (011) 614-0140

Pravin Gordhan ***** |  Excellent ****  |  Good ***  |  Poor **  |  Jacob Zuma *

Last month I had a rather grand lunch at Che Argentine Grill. When we left, I noticed a small unmarked door next door. It was a cosy little bar.

Al Lado, which means "next door", is a tapas and cocktail bar opened by the Che team. My lovely wife likes ambience, and this place ticked all the boxes: faded sofas, dim lighting, comfortable furniture and a cosy atmosphere. A longish bar sits to one side. There’s a DJ station, and music plays until late from Thursdays.

The menu includes a variety of cocktails (from create-your-own for R85 to the absinthe-based Green Fairy or tequila-driven Sunshine Maker), and there is a very healthy variety of gin, whisky and tequila on offer.

The slim food menu includes tapas, meat and cheese boards, and empanadas. It offers a variety of vegetarian tapas but, disappointingly, none was available on the night. We had the fried prawn with garlic (excellent), octopus with paprika and potatoes (wow), chorizo in cider (so-so), grilled tuna (okay) and tuna tartare (fresh, good). We had seconds of the prawn and octopus because they were so good.

Al Lado has a nice, comfy feel and, though we left at about 10pm, it looked as if things were going to happen later in the evening. The DJ was setting up.

The service was a bit all over the place, yet charming and helpful. Food was inconsistent: excellent dishes alongside so-so stuff. Yet I liked it. I may go back on a Friday for a dance. I hope Al Lado attracts a huge clientele and sticks around for a while.

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