The controversial appointment — which could see Myeni net more than R1-million a year — comes as the government considers moving SAA from National Treasury to the Department of Transport.
But it may come at a high price. The possible move has prompted South Africa’s top four commercial banks, as well as Investec, to amend their loan agreements to the airline. Last week they sent letters to SAA saying that if the move went ahead, they may recall R8-billion in loans to the cash-strapped state-owned entity.
This new condition was an effort to ensure stability at the airline, SAA insiders said.
Maswanganyi confirmed there was a national review underway to move SAA to his department. He also defended the appointment of Myeni, who is a friend of President Jacob Zuma, saying she had been “highly recommended”, but would not say who.
“I needed someone with aviation experience … I appointed her as one of my advisers because as a minister I am allowed to appoint a maximum of three advisers without advertising the posts,” he said.