NATIONAL NEWS - The High Court in Pretoria on Thursday dismissed former South African Airways (SAA) board chairperson Dudu Myeni’s application challenging the Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse’s (Outa) involvement in a case which seeks to have her declared a delinquent director.
The organisation joined the SAA Pilots Association in bringing the charges against the former chairperson.
Myeni wanted Outa removed from the case, arguing that its involvement constituted overreach for a civil society organisation, as Outa was not directly affected by events at SAA.
The court, however, ruled that Outa had a right to legally challenge Myeni as an organisation serving the interests of taxpayers, as the case meets the requirement of public interest and is in the interests of justice.
This follows Myeni losing two separate applications at the High Court in Pretoria at the beginning of the month, one which sought to add other directors to a civil case which sees her accused of being a “delinquent director”, and the other which saw her try to change her admission in the case.
Myeni’s lawyers had argued that 28 other SAA directors should face the charges alongside Myeni as they acted as a “collective”. They also said she should be given the opportunity to amend her plea, which they said was made on the basis of bad legal advice given to her previously.
It was argued that these lawyers didn’t follow Myeni’s instructions or clearly explain the legal implications of the plea to her.
Judge Ronel Tolmay dismissed both applications.
Of the attempt to add more directors to the case, Tolmay said while the directors could be called as witnesses, the relief sought was for Myeni alone to be declared delinquent.
Of the attempt to change her admissions, Tolmay said she did not adequately explain why she wanted to change them, adding that she felt it was “inconceivable” that Myeni did not know what she was admitting to in her plea, as she had the necessary experience as a businesswoman to do so.
She said it was clear Myeni’s former lawyers did indeed consult with her over the plea.
The case has been plagued by delays, with Myeni herself failing to attend proceedings on multiple occasions.
Ahead of one appearance, Outa said in a statement that Myeni called to inform their team that she could not afford to get from KwaZulu-Natal to Pretoria for the case against her despite the trial date already set in February 2018.
Myeni believes she is being targeted for her proximity to former president Jacob Zuma. In an IOL report, she maintains her trial was political and she was unfairly targeted due to her being the chairperson of the Jacob Zuma Foundation.
The former SAA chair wants SAA to fund her legal bills using insurance it has for its directors.