Dudu Myeni
Durban - Former South African Airways (SAA) chairperson Dudu Myeni was a no-show at the start of her court battle in Pretoria yesterday - allegedly because she could not afford the trip.

Myeni is expected to defend herself against attempts by the Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse (Outa) and the SAA Pilots’ Association (Saapa) to declare her a “delinquent director”.

According to Outa’s legal team, Myeni called them to say she could not afford to travel to Pretoria for the case against her yesterday morning.

By that time, Outa’s team was already at the North Gauteng High Court for the long-awaited start to the case. A number of calls and messages to Myeni went unanswered yesterday.

The application to declare Myeni a delinquent director was launched on March 7, 2017 by Outa and Saapa. The trial date was set two years ago, and it was expected to take place until November 1.

Outa chief legal officer advocate Stefanie Fick said they were hopeful the trial could continue in her absence if she did not arrive at court today.

Judge Ronel Tolmay rolled the case over to today to give Myeni “a last chance” to appear.

“If she fails to appear, we are hopeful that we can convince the court that judgment be taken in her absence. We will still call upon our witnesses and so forth,” Fick said.

She explained that should the court find Myeni to be a delinquent director, it would mean she would have to relinquish all directorship roles she had in any company and would not be able to hold a director’s position again.

It was previously reported that SAA and Air Chefs and the Minister of Finance were cited as respondents in the case.

It is believed Myeni is listed on the board of directors of 13 entities.

She was appointed as a non-executive director for SAA in 2009 and was appointed as acting chairperson of the board in December 2012. In January 2015 she was appointed board chairperson, a position she held until the end of her term in 2017.

Outa’s court application against Myeni was based on the argument that BnP Capital had been irregularly appointed as a transaction adviser. It said that the extension of the contract in 2016 to enable it to source R15billion in funding for the airline was unlawful because the company had, by then, lost its licence as a Financial Services Provider.

The Mercury