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South Africa’s struggling airline reappoints controversial boss Dudu Myeni

By Crystal Orderson in Cape Town
Posted on Friday, 2 September 2016 13:27

Myeni is an ally of embattled president Jacob Zuma and a figurehead of the war currently being waged between the presidency and the treasury for control of the country’s state-owned enterprises.

The country’s main opposition party, the Democratic Alliance (DA), said Myeni’s reappointment was “a massive political defeat for finance minister Pravin Gordhan”.

But others see it a strategic victory for the treasury because some key people in finance and mining were elected to oversee the ailing parastatal airline.

These include Stavros Nicolau, a senior executive at Aspen Group, as well as chief financial officer of PPC, Tryphosa Ramano.

“The airline industry has been in a boom period around the world and globally making $30bn profit, so I think in this climate it will be difficult for SAA to make a loss,” aviation expert Guy Leech told The Africa Report.

The country’s biggest asset manager, Futuregrowth, said on Wednesday it will stop giving any short-term loans to six state-owned entities including power utility Eskom. Futuregrowth said it is concerned by power struggles within the government.

“[This will be] negative for the economy and the forthcoming ratings assessments where international agencies are looking closely at how the state-owned companies are managed,” says the DA’s Alf Lees. “This will make a sovereign downgrade even more likely.”

• This article was amended on 5 September to clarify that Christine Ramon, chief financial officer of AngloGold Ashanti is not on the board of South African Airways.

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