SAA’s Myeni under siege on multiple fronts

Dudu Myeni
Dudu Myeni

SAA chairperson Dudu Myeni is headed for an uphill battle to hold on to her job at the troubled parastatal.

Myeni this week appeared before the Companies Tribunal after she was issued with a noncompliance notice by the Companies and Intellectual Property Commission (CIPC) for allegedly lying to government about an Airbus deal.

She informed the department of public enterprise that the board had decided to lease two Airbus planes, but it was actually 10 Airbus planes.

However, after being issued with a compliance notice, she dismissed this as simply a mistake.

According to the tribunal’s chairperson, Agnes Tsele-Maseloanyane, the hearing was actually held because Myeni sought to challenge a noncompliance notice issued to her on November 28 by the CIPC.

“The matter was brought before the tribunal by Dudu Myeni for review and setting aside of a compliance notice issued by the CIPC for contravening sections ... and [she] conducted herself in a manner that is materially inconsistent with the duties of a director and thus contravened the provisions ... by misrepresenting to the minister that the board had resolved to secure only two aircraft when, in fact, the board had resolved to secure 10 aircraft,” she said.

Tsele-Maseloanyane said the tribunal had powers to either cancel, vary or confirm in part or in its entirety the notice from the CIPC.

According to CIPC spokesperson Tshiamo Zebediela, the notice issued to Myeni was for the misleading information given to the shareholder.

“We would like to update the minister on the award of the sale and leaseback of aircraft to Pembroke Capital.

"While reference is made to 10 aircraft in the previous correspondence, the board has subsequently resolved to transact on two aircraft with Pembroke to allow SAA to further explore engaging local financiers, such as the Development Bank of Southern Africa, the Public Investment Corporation, the Sharia Bank and others,” read the notice Myeni wrote on June 20 2013 to the minister of public enterprises.

The SAA Pilots’ Association, a Federation of Unions of SA affiliate, and the Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse filed an application in the Pretoria High Court in March to have Myeni declared a delinquent director.

Their application is based on a number of transactions wherein Myeni is accused of having flouted litany laws and regulations.

SAA has almost R19 billion in government guarantees and has used up most of it, which means that, if it continues on its downward spiral, the state will be forced to step in.

It also has about 15 major loan commitments it needs to service that are backed by the guarantees.

DA MP Alf Lees said he would be sending parliamentary questions to Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba regarding the matter as SAA falls under the control of the National Treasury.

“If SAA has failed to repay some of these loans, it could force other creditors to recall their loans, which would then necessitate government to step in and pay.

"This money would ultimately be taken from the public purse and could have dire consequences for the sovereign rating status of South Africa.

"The fact is that the only way out of this mess is for SAA to apply for business rescue where robust cost reductions can be implemented,” Lees said.

Myeni has also recently been publicly lambasted for allegedly missing a total of six board meetings.

However, SAA denied that Myeni missed any meetings.

SAA spokesperson Tlali Tlali said: “The chairperson of the board of directors, Dudu Myeni, has not missed any board meetings convened in accordance with regular schedule since her reappointment.”

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