Myeni ‘did not have powers to block Emirates deal’
Johannesburg - Former SAA board chairperson Dudu Myeni looks set to testify in the legal battle with Outa and the SAA Pilots Association who have lodged a court bid in the Gauteng High Court, Pretoria, to declare her a delinquent director.
In October last year, Myeni failed to show up in court for her first court hearing when the matter was set for trial, citing financial problems. The court set a trial date in her absence.
On Tuesday, however, Myeni’s legal counsel, Nqabayethu Buthelezi, confirmed Myeni would take the stand in her defence. He said Myeni would testify that she did not have the powers to block or authorise former national airline acting chief executive Nico Bezuidenhout from signing a R1.5billion deal with Emirates in June 2015.
Myeni would also vehemently deny claims that she told Bezuidenhout that the instruction to him not to sign the deal came from former president Jacob Zuma.
On Tuesday Buthelezi confirmed that his client was due to take the stand to rebut all the allegations made against her by Outa and the SAA Pilots Association. The two parties filed papers in March 2017 asking the Gauteng High Court, Pretoria, to declare Myeni a delinquent director.
Buthelezi said Myeni was going to deny Bezuidenhout’s version that she mentioned Zuma’s name in the telephone conversation she had with him a few hours before the deal was due to be signed in Paris. He said Myeni would confirm that she sent a WhatsApp message to Bezuidenhout saying “We did not Approve” but said she would testify she was making reference to the SAA board and not Zuma.
Bezuidenhout told the court the WhatsApp message that landed on his cellphone made him believe that Myeni was referring to Zuma.
“Ms Myeni will testify there is no truth the former president had issued an instruction to Bezuidenhout not to sign. Ms Myeni will also testify that when she sent a message to him, she was doing so on behalf of the board,” Buthelezi said.