January 2015 – October 2017
|Non-Executive Director: SAA|
September 2009 – October 2017
|Acting Chairwoman: SAA|
December 2012 – December 2015
|Executive Chairperson: JG Zuma Foundation|
|Assumed office |
|Born||29 October 1963|
|Political party||African National Congress|
|Residence||Richards Bay, KZN|
Duduzile Cynthia Myeni (born 29 October 1963), also known as Dudu, is a South African businesswoman, the former chairperson of South African Airways SOC Limited, and the Executive Chairperson of the Jacob G Zuma Foundation since September 2008. She is known for her controversial involvement with South African Airways and as a close friend of South African president Jacob Zuma. During the Zondo Commission of inquiry into state capture the former Chief operating officer of Bosasa testified that Myeni received monthly illicit payments of R300,000 in cash from them a month that was to be given to then president Zuma.
Myeni obtained her Primary Teachers Certificate from Madadeni College and her a Secondary Teachers Diploma from Umlazi College. In 2009 the SAA annual report listed a bachelor's degree in administration from the University of Zululand among her qualifications. It was removed the following year after Myeni admitted she was “studying toward it” with two majors outstanding. She is listed as one of the participants in South African mining company Gold Fields' BEE partner Invictus Consortium.
She founded a consulting firm Skills Dynamics in 1999 which has facilitated a number of social development programmes on behalf of various Government Departments and major corporations in and around Richards Bay.
As of 2015 she was also a board member of the Jacob Zuma Foundation as well as vice-president of the African Water Association, Chairperson of the South African Association of Water Utilities and the Mhlathuze Water Board, Director of Trade and Investment Kwazulu-Natal. She also does consulting for various blue chip companies.
South African Airways
Myeni was first appointed to South African Airway's board of directors in 2009. She was appointed chairperson of the board in 2012 following the simultaneous resignation of eight of its fourteen board members including the company's then chairperson Cheryl Carolus. In 2012/13 she had then acting chief executive, Vuyisile Kona removed from his position at the airline amid accusations that she organised the airline's security service to spy on him.
In January 2014 six non-executive directors of the state-owned South African Airways wrote to the then minister for Public Enterprises, Malusi Gigaba, of their “major dissatisfaction” with Myeni's leadership. In March 2014 the new chief executive, Monwabisi Kalawe, accused Myeni of corruption after paying for documents that allegedly showed Myeni had foreign bank accounts worth €18.5-million. These documents were proven to be fake and lead to disciplinary proceedings against Kalawe. In May 2014 Myeni accused Kalawe of serious governance breaches. An accusation Kalawe disputed prompting Gigaba to state his “full confidence” in Kalawe following Gigaba's call for the state-owned airline to fix its long-troubled management problems. Gigaba went on to state that he would "deal with" Myeni for her dispute with Kalawe. Within a week of Gigaba's statement he was shuffled by president Zuma to the Department of Home Affairs. Gigaba was replaced by Lynne Brown as minister for Public Enterprises. Upon Zuma's request Brown replaced Myeni's critics at the airline and keeping Myeni in her position whilst instructing Myeni to reinstate Kalawe as chief executive. An instruction that Myeni ignored.
In March 2015 South African Airways signed an agreement with Airbus as part of the airline's turn around plan to lease 5 Airbus A330s. In October 2015, without involving South African Airways executives, Myeni informed Airbus that the airway would be renegotiating the agreement to instead be an outright sale to an unnamed third party that would purchase the planes on SAA’s behalf. This raised concerns around corruption by-passing normal procurement process and triggered a clause in the original agreement that any renegotiation of the agreement would need to be approved by the Ministry of Finance. In an editorial Myeni stated that the reason why a third party rental company was needed was so as to mitigate the impact of volatile exchange rates on the running costs of the aircraft thereby reducing the airline's foreign currency exposure.
In early December 2015 the then Minister of Finance, Nhlanhla Nene, rebuffed Myeni's request to renegotiate the deal. This was one of the suspected causes for controversial replacement of Nene as minister by president Zuma a week later with David van Rooyen. This caused a public outcry and a strongly negative reaction by international markets that led to van Rooyen's replacement four days later by the better known former minister of finance Pravin Gordhan (2009-2014). Gordhan rejected Myeni's request and instead announced that the original agreement to lease the planes would be implemented.
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