Ex-SAA execs fly in formation as accusations stack up against Dudu Myeni
Johannesburg - The accusations against former SAA board chairperson Dudu Myeni continued in the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria - as more witnesses blamed her for the national airliner’s alleged financial troubles during her six-year tenure at the helm.
On Monday, former SAA chief financial officer Wolf Meyer corroborated his former fellow executives, who included former acting SAA chief executive Nico Bezuidenhout, in alleging Myeni was responsible for the failed R1.5billion profit guarantee if SAA had signed a deal with Emirates in June 2015.
Evidence before court indicated that Emirates offered to allow SAA to use its Dubai route to fly its own passengers there.
The parties also agreed to share international lounges and catering services.
SAA, according to the witnesses, was also allegedly allowed to put their passengers on Emirates flights at air ticket prices they could determine.
The deal would have gained SAA R1.5bn if the deal was concluded on June 16, 2015, according to witnesses.
The court heard that, at the time of the proposed deal, SAA was operating at a loss for its Joburg/Abu Dhabi route, which allegedly drew the ire of National Treasury.
Meyer also supported the version of his former fellow executives that Myeni allegedly thwarted a multibillion swap transaction with Airbus for the acquisition of five A330 aircraft which the national airliner had intended to use for international routes to Dubai and other Middle East countries, Europe and London.
During examination by Myeni’s counsel, Nqabayethu Buthelezi, Meyer corroborated Bezuidenhout’s version that Myeni said the instruction not to sign the Emirates deal in Paris in 2015 came from former president Jacob Zuma.
“I was with Nico Bezuidenhout when he received the call from Myeni. Bezuidenhout placed his phone on speaker. I did hear Myeni telling him that the instruction not to sign the Emirates deal came from the former president.
“We all knew she had a good relationship with the former president,” Meyer said.
He also testified the Airbus deal failed allegedly because Myeni insisted on the involvement of African Aircraft, a leasing company.
In his testimony, he alleged Myeni’s action prompted him to resign as SAA’s chief financial officer.
According to Meyer, he was allegedly accused of being responsible for SAA’s financial losses a few days after his resignation.
He said the claims were made in Parliament and he had to use the media to clear his name.
The trial continues.