Former South African Airways (SAA) board chairperson, Dudu Myeni, is taking the fight to declare her a delinquent director to the Supreme Court of Appeal. Myeni took this decision after the North Gauteng High Court on Tuesday dismissed her application for leave to appeal the December ruling that said the Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse (Outa) can challenge her fitness to serve as a director on any board. The former SAA boss had argued that Outa has got no legal standing to bring a delinquency case against her and should be removed from the case.
Judge Ronel Tolmay dismissed Myeni’s latest application with an order that she pay the legal fees of both Outa and the SAA Pilots Association within 30 days. But Myeni’s lawyer Nqabayethu Buthelezi said it’s not over yet and they’re heading to Bloemfontein. “We will file the petition upon receiving written judgment and I am instructed to stand down pending that. Our submission is the following …we need to look deeper into the nature of the interlocutory itself,” Buthelezi said. Even after a back and forth legal battle, Outa remains convinced that Myeni must be held responsible for corruption at SAA during her tenure as board chair.
The lobby group welcomed the High Court’s decision to dismiss Myeni’s appeal application. “We are very delighted that the court found in our favour and as civil society to be here because we have the right to know what happens to our taxpayers’ money at a big SOE [state-owned enterprise] like SAA,” OUTA’s head of legal affairs, Stefanie Fick, said.
In terms of the Companies Act, if Myeni is declared a delinquent director, she will not be able to serve on any board of directors for several years. She currently still holds directorships in other companies. The case resumes on Wednesday morning, with the court expected to rule on whether Myeni's legal team can bring the second leave to appeal application relating to her wanting to amend her plea. The court will also decide whether the case – which is set down for five weeks – will proceed as planned.