In a statement on its website today, the Presidency said it wishes to correct “malicious rumors” that have been circulating and published by some media houses about the removal of the finance minister and President Jacob Zuma’s relationship with South African Airways Board chairperson Dudu Myeni, even one about them having a baby together.
The Presidency published the following rumours – which also included one about the why Malusi Gigaba was removed from the ministry controlling SAA – followed by explanations:
Rumour: Minister Gigaba did not finish his term as Minister of Public Enterprises at the request of the SAA Board Chair
A rumour has been circulated, and has also been published by some media products, that Mr Malusi Gigaba, now Minister of Home Affairs, was “removed’’ from his position a (sic) Minister of Public Enterprises due to an apparent fallout with Ms Myeni, and at her request to the President.
This is not true. Mr Gigaba served his full term as Minister of Public Enterprises until the elections in May 2014. All terms of office automatically lapse after elections. A newly-elected President appoints a brand new Cabinet immediately after being sworn in. The new President is under no obligation to re-appoint persons who had served before and there is also no requirement that he should re-appoint people to portfolios they had held before, should he or she decide to include them in his or her new Cabinet. In line with this principle, Mr Gigaba was appointed as Minister of Home Affairs in the fifth administration.
Rumour: SAA was transferred to the National Treasury because the SAA Board Chair demanded that it be so
Another rumour that has been doing the rounds and has been published as well by some media houses has it that the SAA was shifted from the Department of Public Enterprises to the National Treasury because of a clash between Ms Myeni and the Minister of Public Enterprises, Ms Lynne Brown and that this was at the request or demand by Ms Myeni. This is grossly untrue. The SAA was moved to the National Treasury so that it can be intensively supported to get out of difficulties by the NT. That was the sole motivation.
As said by the President on 11 December, there is no state-owned entity that can dictate to government how it should be assisted. In addition, no chairperson of a board of a state owned company has the power to tell a government Department to which the entity reports, how to support or lead them. The President and government will be guided by the National Treasury on the response to the SAA challenges. Once the National Treasury advises that the SAA is on a better footing, it will be returned to the Department of Public Enterprises where it belongs.
Rumour: Mr Nene was redeployed because of the Airbus deal and Ms Myeni’s displeasure
Media reports that Mr Nhlanhla Nene is being redeployed because the SAA Board chairperson was unhappy with the National Treasury directives to SAA with regards to the Airbus deal or any other matter is a malicious fabrication. Mr Nene as has been explained, is South Africa’s candidate to head up the African Regional Centre of the New Development Bank/BRICS Bank.
The SAA receives directives from the Minister of Finance and works under the guidance of that Ministry. No member of the SAA Board is above the Minister of Finance or can operate outside of the mandate and direction provided by the Minister of Finance and the National Treasury.
Rumour: The President and the SAA Board Chair have a romantic relationship and have a son together
Ms Myeni is the chairperson of the Jacob Zuma Foundation. Her relationship with the President is purely professional, and is based on the running of the Foundation.
Rumours about a romance and a child are baseless and are designed to cast aspersions on the President.