High Court rules Myeni can neither change plea nor add other SAA directors to her case

The High Court in Pretoria has ruled that former SAA board chair Dudu Myeni, who is facing a civil case seeking to declare her a delinquent director, cannot change her previous admissions in the case and cannot have other previous SAA directors added to her case.  

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

Her legal team last week introduced an application to change some of her previous admissions in the case, and have 28 other directors who served with her at the flag carrier included in the case on the basis that they acted as a "collective". Her lawyers argued last week that her previous legal representation did not give her correct advice or consult with her properly, and she should be able to amend her plea.  

The admissions that Myeni sought to amend chiefly relate to the results of board meetings and business decisions taken under watch.

Judge Ronel Tolmay on Monday said that errors in admissions must be "fully explained" for them to be amended. "The applicant failed to give a reasonable explanation," she said, noting that Myeni has "vast experience" in the corporate world and should have the capacity to understand her original pleading. 

"The application for amendment cannot be granted," she ruled. 

She also denied an application by Myeni's legal team to strike out an affidavit by her former attorney whom she had accused of not properly consulting with her. 

Tolmay also denied Myeni's application to have previous directors of SAA added or joined to her case. 

Delays

The case has repeatedly been delayed after Myeni said she struggled to secure legal representation and afford funds to appear in court, and later submitted an application to amend her plea.  

The Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse (OUTA), which brought the case against Myeni, together with the SAA Pilots Association, last week criticised the move to have other directors included in the case and change part of her plea. They regarded it 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 any changes to Myeni's pleadings should have occurred months ago," the organisation said in a statement.

If declared a delinquent director, Myeni will not be able to act as a company director.

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