Myeni in the dock
Johannesburg - The Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse (Outa) and the SAA Pilots’ Association are due to lead incriminating evidence against former SAA board chairperson Dudu Myeni when the trial against her resumes in the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria on Monday.
The two organisations lodged an application in the high court in March 2017 asking the court to declare Myeni a delinquent director, arising from her actions as SAA chairperson from December 2012 to October 2017.
Outa and Saapa want Myeni to join former Public Investment Corporation’s executives Ernest Nesane and Paul Magula - who were implicated in the VBS Mutual Bank collapse - on the delinquent directors’ list.
The PIC successfully applied to the high court to have Nesane and Magula both declared delinquent, which meant that they were disqualified from serving as company directors for seven years, in accordance with the 2008 Companies Act.
A similar ruling - also in August - was made against the former director of the SA Nuclear Energy Corporation, Phumlani Zwane, in the high court following an application by the Competition and Intellectual Property Commission. Zwane has since appealed the ruling.
The matter against Myeni was set down for trial on October 7, but was postponed twice after Myeni failed to pitch up. She initially told the court that she had no money to travel from KwaZulu-Natal to Pretoria to defend herself in the case.
The other reasons for the postponement were the withdrawal of two legal firms she had previously appointed to deal with her case. One, Daniel Mantsha Attorneys, withdrew two weeks before the trial date on October 7.
Outa insisted the trial should go ahead, arguing that Myeni had ample time to appoint a new counsel.
Prior to October 7, Outa’s head of legal services, advocate Stefanie Fick, argued that they had received notification in June from Myeni’s attorneys of record - Edward Nathan Sonnenberg - that they were no longer handling the matter.
“Following several weeks of trying to track down Myeni to establish who her new attorney of record is for this serious case, on August 29 we finally received correspondence from Daniel Mantsha stating that his firm had been appointed the attorney of record.
“Then, on September 2, we received correspondence from Mantsha’s office indicating that they would not be ready to proceed with the trial.
“We find this typical ‘lawfare’ tactic of delaying court appearances unacceptable, and we believe that although Mantsha’s firm was appointed only last month, they have had sufficient time to prepare,” Fick said.
Last week, Myeni’s new counsel, advocate Nqabayethu Buthelezi assured the court that he would represent Myeni throughout the trial.