Former SAA board chairperson Dudu Myeni. File picture: Simphiwe Mbokazi/African News Agency (ANA)
Durban - Former South African Airways board chairperson and executive member of the Jacob Zuma Foundation Dudu Myeni has doggedly defended the former president’s legacy saying the man portrayed in the media is nothing like the leader they know.

Myeni was speaking at JE Ndlovu High School in KwaMashu township, north of Durban, where the Foundation launched a chess programme. She said the Zuma they know is a people’s person and “not the Zuma made up by somebody else that we don’t know”.

Myeni is viewed as a close ally of the former president. It was revealed by former Bosasa chief operating officer Angelo Agrizzi during his testimony at the State Capture Commission, early this year, that the controversial facilities management company was prepared to do anything to keep her happy.

This, according to Agrizzi, included monthly cash payments of R300 000 to Myeni, allegedly meant for the foundation and delivered in bags to Zuma by Myeni.

Speaking fondly of Zuma, Myeni said: “We, who work for the (former) president under the JG Zuma Foundation, read the newspapers and are shocked and say we don’t know the person being described.

“We know a humble Nxamalala, a Nxamalala who loves the people, we know a Nxamalala who has an African agenda rooted in his mind. Everything he does, he thinks of a black person. He is here today because he loves poor black people,” Myeni said.

She added they, at the Foundation, worked for a man who seeks to make the lives of the country’s children better.

Zuma meanwhile was greeted with several renditions of his trademark Mshini wami tune when he entered the tent inside the school’s premises and chants of “Zuma! Zuma! Zuma!” as his security detail ushered him on to the podium.

He said referring to Africans as “previously disadvantaged” was misleading as they were still suffering from the legacies of colonialism and apartheid. He said the better term was “historically disadvantaged”.

“When you call us previously disadvantaged it means we are no longer disadvantaged, we were disadvantaged and to this day, we are (still) disadvantaged,” Zuma said.

Political Bureau