The High Court in Pretoria has dismissed an application by former SAA chairperson Dudu Myeni for leave to appeal a December ruling stating that Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse (Outa) has standing to bring a delinquency case against her.
The case to have Myeni declared a delinquent director has been hobbled by a series of delays, mainly on Myeni’s part, ranging from unexpected change of legal representatives to amendments to her plea.
Judge Ronel Tolmay on Tuesday dismissed Myeni latest application and ordered the former SAA chair to pay Outa and the SAA Pilots Association's legal fees, which she said are immediately taxable and must be paid within 30 days.
The appeal process had also dominated Monday's arguments, where questions were raised over the legitimacy of the former SAA chair's application, as it was filed late. Her legal team also failed to seek condonation for the late filing, as Fin24 previously reported. In her submission on Monday, Outa’s Advocate Carol Steinberg urged the court to allow the case to begin. Tolmay had in December set the case down for five weeks.
If Myeni is declared a delinquent director, she will not be able to serve on any boards for several years, according to the Companies Act.
After the ruling was handed down on Tuesday, the two sides were given an opportunity to consult with their clients.
Yet another appeal?
After a break, Adv Nqabayethu Buthelezi, for Myeni, argued that the start of the delinquency case should be put on hold, pending a new petition for leave to appeal that Myeni intends to take to the Supreme Court of Appeal in Bloemfontein.
Steinberg, meanwhile, said Myeni has little prospect of success if she petitions the court directly, and argued that the delinquency case should proceed.
In the afternoon, when the court resumed, the focus turned to a condition application by Myeni's legal team that seeks to explain why leave to appeal application was filed late.
Adv Buthelezi, for Myeni, said the former SAA chair was unable to sign the letter because she is travelling out of KwaZulu-Natal.
Judge Tolmay, in response, asked why she is traveling, when she told the court in October she could not afford to attend the case in Pretoria in person.
Her lawyer, in response, said her circumstances may have changed.
Tolmay also said that Myeni could have read the documents via email, and questioned why she would be out of town during a trial. "Every litigant in this court must think twice if they don't follow the rules of court...because it could have consequences legally and pertaining to costs," Tolmay said.
The case resumes on Wednesday at 10am, when the court will rule on whether Myeni's legal team can bring second leave to appeal application relating to her wanting to amend her plea.