South Africa’s President Denies affair with airline boss

1086 zuma and myeni

South African President Jacob Zuma on Saturday denied rumours making the rounds that he is dating the chairwoman of state-owned airline,Dudu Myeni, amid media speculation the relationship had led to the sacking of the finance minister.

Myeni is also executive chairwoman of Zuma’s charitable trust, the Jacob Zuma Foundation.

Rumors of a romantic relationship between Zuma and Myeni(both pictured) have circulated since 2009 when the she was appointed to the board of the ailing national flag carrier.

Zuma dismissed Finance Minister Nhlanhla Nene last Wednesday. The minister had earlier rebuked Dudu Myeni, chairwoman of state-owned South African Airways and a close ally of Zuma, for mismanaging a 1 billion rand ($62.98 million)deal with Airbus.

Many local media had speculated Nene might be moved out after he rebuked Myeni.
But President has denied having an affair with Myeni.

“Her relationship with the President is purely professional, and is based on the running of the Foundation,” the Presidency said in statement. “Rumors about a romance and a child are baseless and are designed to cast aspersions on the President.”

Zuma replaced Nene with a relatively unknown parliamentarian, David van Rooyen, unnerving investors in an ailing economy whose investment grade status is already at risk.

Zuma’s office also criticized as a “malicious fabrication” reports that Nene was removed because Myeni was not happy with instructions from the respected former finance minister.

“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,” the Presidency said.

Zuma, South Africa’s leader since 2009, is a polygamist married six times and father of more than 20 children.

It would be recalled that Myeni listed a bachelor’s degree in administration as one of her qualifications when she was appointed in 2009 but she mysteriously removed the degree in last year’s annual report.

Responding through SAA spokesman Tlali Tlali, Myeni said she had listed the degree because she had been studying towards it.
Tlali said Myeni had not misled the public because she had disclosed in 2009 that she had two majors outstanding.

“It does not create an impression that she has a qualification she does not have,” he said. “Anyone who has read the reports would not accuse her of misleading the public.”

Tlali said there was nothing wrong with board members listing qualifications they had not yet obtained and then removing them.

“The fact that it is there [in previous annual reports] and not there [in last year’s report] does not change anything. She has never presented herself as someone who holds a degree,” said Tlali.

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Myeni also listed a secondary teaching diploma, an advanced business management diploma and a certificate in management development.

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