By BO Staff Writer
The reasons why Finance Minister, Pravin Gordhan, wants the current chairperson of South African Airways (SAA), Dudu Myeni, out of the entity were revealed this week. In a bold decision that left analysts shocked, Gordhan instructed the Board of SAA to allow the controversial American consulting firm, Bain & Company, to “turn around” SAA by, amongst other things, privatizing 25% of the said entity.
In a letter instructing Myeni to cooperate with the American firm, Gordhan used his budget speech to justify bringing back Bain & Co. The company is the same firm that is accused of destroying SAA in a massive looting and privatisation process under its founder, Coleman Andrews, who was then the CEO of SAA.
Black First Land First (BLF) has, in September this year, written to President Jacob Zuma to institute a Judicial Commission of Inquiry into the conduct of Bain & Co and Andrews. BLF has been angered by Gordhan’s total disregard for the assets of the nation by bringing back a company that has caused so much damage to the State Owned Entity (SOE), from which it is still to recover. The black consciousness movement has written to the President again and also staged a picket at the Head Office of SAA on Tuesday demanding that the SAA Board shouldn’t implement the illegal decision by Gordhan. BLF was assured that the instruction by Gordhan wouldn’t be implemented. This assurance was given by the Acting CEO of SAA, Musa Zwane, who was mandated by the Board to engage the BLF delegation.
Hidden in the contract with Bain & Company is the undertaking to privatize SAA. There seems to be a coordinated strategy to achieve the sale of a large stake of SAA to white capital. The Board, which was handpicked by Gordhan, had established a committee which excluded the Chairperson who is seen as a stumbling block to looting by white capital which Gordhan wants to unleash on SAA under the pretext of “turning SAA around”.
It must be remembered that Gordhan didn’t want Myeni as Chairperson and is alleged to be undermining her at every turn.
Sources known to Black Opinion have confirmed that Myeni heard about the contract signed in October by Gordhan with Bain from the media only last week. The agents of Gordhan in the Board had decided to agree on a 25% sale to white capital already. This would justify the move by Bain to effect such a sale. Sources close to the board also say Myeni is totally opposed to any privatisation of SAA and is also mortified by Gordhan’s decision to bring back Bain which has caused so much pain for SAA.
Bringing back Bain surprised many observers, more so because evidently under Myeni SAA has been turned around. The entity has reduced its loses which had been averaging R5 billion to R1.5 billion in the last financial year. Furthermore, the entity has not been given any cash guarantees, unlike many other state entities.
Pravin Gordhan is determined to sell a whole 25% of SAA to white capital. After the initial assault by Bain, which left SAA deeply indebted and without aircrafts, observers believe that the entity shall not survive another cannibalisation by Bain through privatisation. The irony of this development is that opposition political parties, which gave Gordhan a standing ovation during his budget speech, are turning a deaf ear to these new manoeuvres to parcel out large chunks of SAA to white hands.
Gordhan has been accused of being a Minister of White Capital and his latest moves on SAA does little to dispel this notion that is now getting traction in some quarters in society.