Dudu Myeni: Don't pursue me alone for SAA financial problems

Dudu Myeni ran SAA into the ground but it’s unlikely she will ever have to account for it, writes Ferial Haffajee. (Photo by Gallo Images / Rapport / Deon Raath)
Dudu Myeni ran SAA into the ground but it’s unlikely she will ever have to account for it, writes Ferial Haffajee. (Photo by Gallo Images / Rapport / Deon Raath)

Former chairperson of the SAA board, Dudu Myeni, who is facing a civil case seeking to declare her a delinquent director, on Monday introduced an application to have the rest of the airline directors who served with her included in the case.

Myeni led the national flag carrier's board between December 2012 and October 2017. 

Her advocate Nqabayethu Buthelezi made the application as the hearing resumed in the High Court in Pretoria, following months of delays over Myeni's inability to secure legal representation.

Buthelezi argued that Myeni's "selective pursuit" seeks to suggest that the she had "the capacity to either act extraneously to the board or had exclusive powers to act as an individual" by virtue of the position she occupied on the board.

Delay tactic?

The Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse (OUTA), which brought the case against Myeni, together with SAA Pilots Association, slammed the latest move by Myeni as a delay tactic. 

"OUTA believes this is part of an ongoing strategy to delay the case against Myeni and emphasised that the attempt to change the plea details would be opposed. OUTA believes that any changes to Myeni’s pleadings should have occurred months ago," the organisation said in a statement.

OUTA claims that SAA recorded losses of up R16.844bn during Myeni's time at the airline and that the case is in the public interest.

Buthelezi, however, challenged the issue of public interest, arguing that if this were indeed the case, then "the court would be interested in the conduct of the board in its entirety".

He further argued that there were several individuals whose conduct "cannot escape scrutiny". These are Wolf Meyer, Musa Zwane, Nico Bezuidenhout, Yakhe Kwinana, Phumeza Nhantsi, Anthony Dixon, Monwabisi Kalawe, Thuli Mpshe and Raisibe Lepule.

Myeni, who has snubbed the hearing since the matter began in October, is also opposing OUTA’s involvement in the case. Judge Judge Ronel Tolmay on Monday reserved judgment on the application.

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