DA will hold Buthelezi to release SAA investigation reports

For six months the DA has been pursuing all possible avenues to ensure that a raft of forensic investigation reports into SAA are tabled in Parliament. Today’s Sunday Independent story detailing how senior SAA executives ignored a tender scandal report makes the continued refusal to reveal these reports even more suspicious.
Last week, the Deputy Finance Minister, Sfiso Buthelezi, committed to provide copies to the Portfolio Committee on Finance and the DA will hold him to his commitment.
These reports were promised to the finance committee by the previous Deputy Finance Minister, Mcebisi Jonas, more than 6 months ago, but despite reminders and PAIA applications, and stalling for time, none have been delivered.
It is crucial for the credibility of the new board that the skeletons of the past are exposed and dealt with. One being the Airbus deal debacle that cost the previous Minister of Finance, Nhlanhla Nene, his job when he refused to fall in line with Dudu Myeni’s wishes.
The initial refusal to make the reports available still raises suspicions and was a direct reneging on a firm commitment given by the Deputy Minister of Finance to Parliament. This also left a distinct impression that it was an attempt to cover up information.
The thought is appalling, especially considering SAA’s tainted record of dubious deals and wasteful management of public money, ultimately the money of South African people, with the most recent being SAA’s projected loss of R 4.5 billion for 2016.
Whilst the DA looks forward to receiving unabridged copies of all investigation reports without further delay, I will write to the Deputy Finance Minister to obtain his formal commitment to a date to provide the committee with the reports. Considering that some of these reports date back to as far as 2010, there is no reason that the reports should not be provided to the committee by the end of the week.

SAA losses climb higher to R4.5 billion for 2016/17

The latest information provided to the Standing Committee on Finance (SCOF) by the South African Airways (SAA) board reveals a staggering loss of R4.5 billion for 2016/17.
This new figure of R4.5 billion is significantly higher than the R3.5 billion revealed ten days ago and the R1.7 billion estimated in September 2016.
This is an increase of R1 billion in the space of ten days and an increase of R2.8 billion in the space of 6 months.
With a full month of figures left to be reported on, this figure of R 4.5 billion could experience yet another significant increase.
The DA will interrogate these volatile numbers fully when SAA appears before the SCOF on Wednesday, 29 March 2017, as it is simply inconceivable that SAA losses have increased by a staggering R1 billion in a matter of weeks.

SAA spends R21 million on investigations yet takes no action

A reply to a DA parliamentary question has revealed that South African Airways spent R 21 million on 16 investigations, all of which centred on allegations of fraud and corruption within SAA, but do not seem to have taken any action against those identified by the investigations.
All these investigations took place during the tenure of Ms Dudu Myeni as Chair of the SAA board, a position that she retained when a new board was appointed in September 2016.
The DA’s view that the reappointment of Ms Myeni as Chair of the SAA board was irrational has been vindicated.
Ms Myeni presided over all these immensely expensive investigations but there is no information that any person employed by or associated with SAA has, as a result of the investigations, been criminally charged or even disciplined within SAA and fired.
On the 2nd of February 2017, I submitted a PAIA application to the National Treasury to request copies of all these investigations.
On the 1st of March 2017, National Treasury requested that I grant them a further 30 days to allow them to consider my application.
I have granted their request despite my concerns that the reason given for the delay was:
“To facilitate this request, consultations among divisions of the National Treasury were necessary to decide upon the request and this could not be completed within the prescribed timeframe due to the unavailability of the concerned divisions…”.
We trust that these full reports, without any deletions, will be made available without further delay.
There can be no question that they must be made available before SAA appears before the Standing Committee on Finance on the 29th of March 2017.

Did SAA pay R50 000 for Myeni’s splurge in Oyster Box presidential suite?

The DA has been informed that SAA board chair Dudu Myeni spent a night in the presidential suite of the luxury Oyster Box Hotel in the up-market Umhlanga Rocks beach resort on Saturday the 25th of February 2017.
We believe that Dudu Myeni apparently attended the ANC fundraiser at the five-star Oyster Box Hotel on Saturday the 25th of February and then apparently spent the night in the presidential suite which we understand costs R 50 000 for a one night stay.
This is extreme extravagance from a person who has single-handedly managed to drive SAA into debt of R17.9 billion that is secured by way of a South African Government (taxpayer) guarantee of R 19.1 billion. We should not be surprised that such excess comes from the same person who apparently made 23 holiday trips around the world at the expense of the Mhlathuze Water Board.
Also at the Oyster Box the same night as Ms Myeni was President Zuma who addressed an ANC fundraiser event that cost attendees up to R 750 000,00 for a “package”. The cost presumably varied depending on how close to President Zuma you sat. The proximity that allowed for holding hands was no doubt the most expensive.
I will submit a written question to the Minister of Finance to establish whether SAA or any other public entity paid for accommodation at the Oyster Box hotel for SAA Board Chair Dudu Myeni.
In addition I will ask whether SAA or any other public entity sponsored the ANC event or paid for any persons to attend the ANC fundraiser held at the Oyster Box Hotel on the same night.