Dudu Myeni SAA State Capture

Dudu Myeni. Image: Twitter.com/ Quentin Mtyala

SAA corruption under Dudu Myeni: Zondo told of R100m kickback deals

Truly, the Dudu Myeni gravy train at SAA had no brakes. The State Capture Inquiry has learned of some allegedly-corrupt deals facilitated with the airline.

Dudu Myeni SAA State Capture

Dudu Myeni. Image: Twitter.com/ Quentin Mtyala

A former executive of South African Airways (SAA) allegedly negotiated a R100 million kickback for the business, in order to rig a tender process in her favour during Dudu Myeni’s chairpersonship. Former SAA Technical board chairperson Yakhe Kwinana tried to get a US firm to work with the airline by sweetening the deal with a nine-figure sum.

The extent of SAA corruption under Dudu Myeni

That’s according to the testimony of Sibongile Sambo, who is a founding member and director of SRS Aviation. She told the State Capture Inquiry that Kwinana and AAR worked rapidly to secure an agreement:

  • In a meeting, Kwinana indicated that the amount that was going to be requested from AAR (the US company that placed a bid to provide aircraft components to SAA) was R100 million
  • She received an email from Cheryle Jackson, AAR Vice President, telling her that the visit went well and that they were working on determining a date when the team would be visiting South Africa
  • Sambo received an email from Jackson on the same day, furnishing her with the documents for the five-month component support tender document.

Who is Sibongile Sambo?

Sambo’s testimony was captivating: She said Kwinana also informed her that she wanted to introduce her colleague to someone who’d “take care of her”, adding that she described the person in as an “Ihashi” (meaning a donkey or a horse in English). This person was a “runner”, and a “go-between person” for deals.

Sambo further stated that she was confused and did not want to take part in corruption at all. In her own words, she was “curious to know” how the Dudu Myeni administration would pay the R100m – and if so, how would it happen. A five-year component tender was also discussed between the two parties – something which aroused Sambo’s suspicion, as SAAT had only ever advertised for a five-month deal.

Damning testimony at the State Capture Inquiry

On Tuesday, former SAA chair and chief executive Vuyisile Kona has told the Zondo Commission of Inquiry into State Capture that the controversial Gupta family offered him a bribe of R500 000 to rig a consultancy contract. Kona said he had tenders from Lufthansa Consultancy, for R6 million, and another from McKinsey and Company, for R40 million.

Kona told the Zondo Commission those present included the sons of former President Jacob Zuma, ex-Free State Premier Ace Magashule, Duduzane Zuma and Tony Gupta. He said he was taken aback to be offered R100 000 up-front by the Guptas and declined the money. He described Gupta’s response as “livid” and said the meeting ended abruptly.