No legal basis to declare Myeni delinquent - lawyer

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There is no legal basis to declare Dudu Myeni a delinquent director – rather, she is being victimised, the former South African Airways chairperson's lawyer said on Wednesday.

It was Myeni's fifth appearance at the court, testifying in her defence in a delinquency case brought by the Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse and the SAA Pilots Association. The trial has been running for five weeks, after facing several delays getting started.

OUTA Advocate Carol Steinberg wrapped up her cross-examination of Myeni, referring to various allegations made against her by the organisation.

These included Myeni's failure to sign off a deal between the national carrier and Airbus, which would have seen SAA receive new aircraft while postponing predelivery payments.

Myeni allegedly failed to sign on time, resulting in the national carrier being liable for payment of millions of rands for late delivery.

Myeni was also questioned about a meeting relating to the Airbus deal that she allegedly kept under wraps. For her part, Myeni has, in her testimony, denied meeting with service providers in secret.

A further issue Myeni was questioned on was the allegation that she was responsible for stopping a deal between SAA and Emirates, which would have seen the national carrier receiving R1.5 billion in annual revenue.

After cross-examination and re-examination were concluded, Myeni's lawyer, Advocate Daniel Mantsha, told media the matter was a personal attack against his client.

'Targeted, victimised'

"This matter is very personal to my client. As she has indicated before this court, she felt she is being victimised. She's being targeted, and all she did was accept a public duty to serve in the republic as a chairperson of a state-owned company called SAA.

"And as she has testified here, she did to the best of her abilities. She exercised their fiduciary duties on all matters before her," Mantsha said.

According to Mantsha, OUTA and SAAPA have no case against the former chair, and there are no grounds to have her declared a delinquent director.

"The law as we know is that there is no legal basis to actually declare [Myeni] a delinquent director.

"We don’t think there is evidence led factually that supports that there should be a finding that the disagreement and the preferences and the timing of certain actions [should] amount to somebody acting in a reckless and in a manner that that person deserves never to be appointed a director of any company in the Republic of South Africa," Mantsha said.

Judge Ronel Tolmay will hear closing arguments in the Pretoria High Court on Friday.   

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