Pretoria High Court upholds Myeni's delinquency status
Johannesburg - Public purse watchdog the Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse (Outa) says that it is pleased that former SAA board chairperson Dudu Myeni's status as a delinquent director was upheld by Pretoria High Court.
The ruling by Judge Ronel Tolmay means that Myeni has to step down from all the boards that she sits on and may not be a director or executive in any company or state-owned entity for life.
The judgment comes after the High Court granted the application by Outa and the SAA Pilots' Association (SAAPA) for the immediate enforcement of the delinquency order against her, pending the finalisation of all appeal processes.
Wayne Duvenage, Outa CEO, said that this represented a triple loss for Myeni after she had lost both her applications with cost orders awarded against her.
Duvenage said that Myeni’s losses on Tuesday follow after she lost the main judgment in May 2020, and before that, lost three interlocutory applications and the two appeals against those losses.
"Once again, Dudu Myeni has lost in court as she desperately seeks to undo the delinquent ruling against her. However, she has only herself to blame and needs to realise that her conduct while chairing the board at SAA was out of line and had a significant negative impact on the airline's performance," said Duvenage.
He said that the order of immediate enforcement meant that Myeni had to immediately relinquish all directorships she holds.
“These are understood to include directorships of the Mangaung metro’s electricity utility Centlec and the Jacob Zuma Foundation. Outa will be bringing this matter to the attention of the boards of these organisations,” said Duvenage.
Grant Back, SAAPA chairperson, said SAAPA was elated at the judgment against Myeni, as people who wielded power in South African SOEs and acted in a careless and negligent manner with total disregard for people’s livelihood must be held accountable.
“Let this be a warning to those who continue to do so today. SAA was put into its dire financial state and ended up in business rescue today due largely to the delinquent actions of Ms Myeni and other government deployees.
“SAA's employees have suffered tremendous hardship as a result of the failures in governance, gross incompetence and corruption that took place over the last eight years and, while this will not bring back the thousands of jobs that have been lost, there is some comfort that Ms Myeni has been held to account by the courts thanks to the actions and perseverance of Outa, SAAPA and their members,” said Back.
In his judgment, Judge Tolmay said: “Ms Myeni questioned the imposition of a lifetime declaration of delinquency. The court exercised this discretion in the light of all the evidence which speaks for itself.
“It cannot be said that in the light of the evidence led, that pointed out the damage done to SAA, that this court did not exercise its discretion judicially. The evidence stands largely uncontested. As a result, an appeal court will not lightly substitute its own decision with that of the lower court,” Judge Tolmay said.