From ‘buying fat cakes’ to ‘killing your child’: How Myeni and Kwinana justified flawed SAA decision


Mawande AmaShabalala

SPILLING IDENTITIES Former board chair of SAA Dudu Myeni testified before the Zondo commission into state capture via video link
Picture: Gallo Images/Fani Mahuntsi

What do former SAA board members Dudu Myeni and Yakhe Kwinana have in common? They love the use of extreme analogies to defend an apparently dodgy SAA contract.

They did this while justifying why they backed the decision by the SAA board to withdraw a multimillion-rand contract awarded to LSG Sky Chefs in favour of SAA subsidiary AirChefs to provide catering at SAA lounges.

Kwinana was the first to defend the decision this week when she appeared before the state capture commission, using an unheard of vetkoek analogy that earned her fame on social media streets.

Myeni would back her on Friday, introducing her own metaphor of “killing your child” when talking about the decision.

According to Kwinana, it was sound and sane to call off a contract that had already been awarded to LSG because SAA had its own subsidiary that provided the same services.

Kwinana argued that giving the contract was tantamount to a parent who buys vetkoek from a neighbour while their own child sells the same thing.

“If my daughter is selling fat cakes here at home, why would I go and buy fat cakes next door?” asked Kwinana.

“I would not go next door and buy fat cakes and leave my child’s fat cake here. Even if I had a challenge with them, I would say reduce the baking powder and add this and this and this so that it could be to the customer’s satisfaction.”

Myeni also weighed in on the matter on Friday.

For her, giving the contract to LSG would have been like killing your own child only to adopt one of your neighbour’s children.

Having spent most of the day repeating her now-infamous “chairperson may I not answer the question to avoid incriminating myself” line, Myeni was more than willing to answer on LSG.

Myeni did not give a hoot that SAA’s own legal division had advised the board that cancelling the award to LSG was illegal.

“It does not mean that because it came from a legal department of SAA we must just rubber-stamp and not apply our minds. I would not in my personal capacity opt for killing a subsidiary of SAA and appoint LSG instead of continuing with your own baby.

“In other words, we ought to have killed a child that was established by SAA as a subsidiary. It was not going to be a good decision,” she said.

She insisted that giving business to LSG would have “killed” Air Chefs, and that doing so was undesirable.

“If we were to kill AirChefs, we needed the approval to say we are killing it and taking its functions somewhere else.”

Myeni concluded her three-day testimony relating to SAA affairs, most of which she spent refusing to answer questions posed to her, citing the risk of self-incrimination.

She will be back to testify about her involvement at Eskom at a date yet to be set by commission chairperson deputy chief justice Raymond Zondo.

Myeni, as it relates to Eskom, a state-owned company in which she had no official role, was implicated in having facilitated the suspension of four high-ranking executives at the power utility, including its then CEO Tshediso Matona.

The commission will on Saturday wrap up the testimony of Kwinana.


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