Former SAA board chairperson Dudu Myeni. File picture: Simphiwe Mbokazi/African News Agency (ANA).
Former SAA board chairperson Dudu Myeni. File picture: Simphiwe Mbokazi/African News Agency (ANA).

SAA dragged into fight as Dudu Myeni accuses former lawyers of dishonesty

By SIHLE MAVUSO Time of article published Nov 26, 2019

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Durban - Former South African Airways (SAA) board chairperson, Dudu Myeni, is staging a fierce fight-back as she takes on OUTA’s bid to declare her a delinquent director. 

In her affidavit filed for an application before the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria on Tuesday, Myeni accused the civic organisation of singling her out as responsible for the problems at the struggling airline when she chaired its board between December 2012 and October 2017. 

Among the deals, Myeni is accused of ramming through BNP Capital to raise capital which resulted in SAA losing R49.9 million which was paid as a cancellation fee when the deal was later canned.  

While fighting back, Myeni accused her former lawyers of betraying her so much that in November 2017, they submitted a plea with “many defects”. As a result, Myeni wants all correspondence between her and former attorneys to be declared inadmissible on the basis that it violates attorney-client and attorney privilege.

“They effectively admit to having acted on a frolic of their own in certain instances where they pleaded to allegations where they had no information or instructions,” she says in her affidavit supporting the interlocutory head of arguments. 

Myeni is now represented by Advocate Nqabayethu Buthelezi and she does not mention the previous lawyers by name in the papers. 

She added that there suspicious conduct by the plaintiffs, Outa and SAA Pilots Association (SAAPA) and her former attorneys give justifiable grounds to suspect there was collusion against her. 

Most concerning to her was that she said she cannot be certain what was the extent of their discussions has been all along and the degree to which client-attorney privilege and confidentiality has been breached given the conspicuous eagerness of her former attorneys to come to assistance to the plaintiffs in a matter where they were supposed to defend.

Also in the application, Myeni asks the court to drag other former board members of SAA and some of them who are sitting in the current board like Thandeka Mgoduso. Myeni wants them to be joined in the court action if OUTA and SAAPA are to prove that they are not pursuing an agenda against her.  

“The selective pursuit of the chairperson seeks to suggest that the chairperson could either act extraneously to the board or had exclusive powers to act as an individual by virtue of the position they occupied on the board. The selective pursuit of the chairperson makes obvious the disingenuous motives of the Plaintiffs in alleging that they act in the public interest. 

“The selective pursuit of the chairperson is done by the Plaintiffs in circumstances where they know the following: The First Defendant was never found guilty of any misconduct. 3.2. Several investigations were carried out against the First Defendant and none have found her guilty of any misconduct or unlawful conduct. 3.3. The Hawks are on record on 20 January 2016 stating that the First Defendant is actually the one assisting them (to) investigate corruption,” Myeni says in the court papers. 

Myeni lists several people she wants to join her in court. Among them is Musa Zwane whom she alleges co-wrote the BNP Capital cancellation fee motivation. She also wants Nico Bezuidenhout, the current CEO of Mango Airline whom she accuses of misstating his academic qualifications and resigning upon refusing to be vetted as a director. 

Political Bureau

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