Court hears Dudu Myeni cannot afford petrol, accommodation to attend case

Former SAA board chair Dudu Myeni has been given until Wednesday to file an application for the postponement of her delinquent director court case, after she again failed to appear in court in Pretoria on Tuesday. 

A judge in the High Court in Pretoria made the order on Tuesday after hearing from her former lawyer, Daniel Mantsha, who made an unexpected appearance on her behalf. Myeni also failed to appear before the court on Monday. 

Mantsha had stopped representing Myeni on September 30. On Tuesday he said his appearance was “out of courtesy for the court” and he was not acting under instruction from Myeni.

Myeni led the national flag carrier's board between December 2012 and October 2017. During this period the airline faced financial instability, growing debt and operational challenges.

The Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse and SAA Pilots Association want the court to declare her a delinquent director, based on her leadership during the period. If the court rules in favour of the application, she will no longer able to act as a company director. 

Advocate Carol Steinberg, legal counsel for the applicants, stated that one of the reasons given by Myeni for her inability to afford legal services was that she had been waiting for a liability insurance claim for SAA directors to cover the costs. It later emerged that the claim was only lodged last week Friday. Other reasons for her no-show include that she is not in a position to pay for petrol or accommodation to allow her to travel from her current home in KwaZulu-Natal to attend the case.

Myeni, who sits on the boards of 13 companies according to information presented in court, has claimed she is unable to secure legal representation because she is unemployed.

Mantsha told the court he had made contact with Myeni who informed him that she has arranged for a legal counsel to bring an application for postponement of the case on Thursday.

Tolmay said Myeni is expected to file a “substantive” application for postponement by close of business on Wednesday, warning that the case has been dragging for far too long.

Myeni who was seen as a close ally of former president Jacob Zuma, has denied allegations linking her to poor governance at SAA.  

The matter will resume on Thursday for the application for postponement.

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