Former SAA acting chief executive Nico Bezuidenhout is sticking to his guns that the former SAA board chairperson, Dudu Myeni, allegedly told him that former president Jacob Zuma did not want him to sign a R1.5 billion deal with Emirates. Picture: Simphiwe Mbokazi / ANA
Former SAA acting chief executive Nico Bezuidenhout is sticking to his guns that the former SAA board chairperson, Dudu Myeni, allegedly told him that former president Jacob Zuma did not want him to sign a R1.5 billion deal with Emirates. Picture: Simphiwe Mbokazi / ANA

Myeni rejected R1.5bn Emirates deal with a WhatsApp text to former SAA CEO, court hears

By Baldwin Ndaba Time of article published Feb 4, 2020

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Pretoria - Former SAA acting chief executive Nico Bezuidenhout is sticking to his guns that the former SAA board chairperson, Dudu Myeni, allegedly told him that former president Jacob Zuma did not want him to sign a R1.5 billion deal with Emirates.

After the alleged telephonic instruction on June 16, 2015, while Bezuidenhout and his senior officials were in Paris to sign the deal, Myeni allegedly sent an whatsapp which read: “We do not approve.” 

Bezuidenhout reiterated his version in the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria on Tuesday, following an accusation by Myeni’s counsel Advocate Nqabayethu Buthelezi during his cross-examination.

Buthelezi told Bezuidenhout that his version in court had drastically contradicted a report he made to Myeni and other board about the events which led to the failed deal in Paris on June 16, 2015.

In his report on July 6, 2016, to Myeni and the board, Bezuidenhout reported that he did not sign the deal following a meeting with Myeni held with the former president.

But according to Buthelezi, this contradicted his version in court. 

Addressing Bezuidenhout from the bar, Buthelezi insisted that Myeni did not tell Bezuidenhout that former president had instructed him not to sign the deal.

Bezuidenhout vehemently denied it. He insisted that Myeni told him so.

“She formed me at about 2am in the morning. She was upset that the officials of Emirates had contacted the former president as I did not have permission to sign the deal.

“He told me that the former president did not want him to sign the deal.

“Seven hours later, I got a Whatsapp from Ms Myeni which stated ‘We do not approve’,” Bezuidenhout said.

He told the court that he inferred that the WhatsApp message referred to herself and Zuma not approving the deal.

“The plural ‘We do not approve’ can logically only refer to her and the former president,” Bezuidenhout said.

He, however, reiterated that he did not personally hear Zuma uttering such an instruction.

Cross examination continues.

Political Bureau 

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