By Baldwin Ndaba
Former SAA board chairperson Dudu Myeni is due to take the stand in her defence on Thursday in the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria after Outa and SAA Pilots Association (SAAPA) closed their case against her on Tuesday.
Outa and SAAPA had applied to the court to declare Myeni a delinquent director for the ‘rest of her life’, alleging that she was responsible for plunging the national airliner into financial chaos during her six year term as board chairperson.
Myeni’s legal counsel Adv Nqabayethu Buthelezi confirmed that she will testify in her defence on Thursday after Adv Carol Steinberg – the counsel for Outa and SAA – formally closed their case against Myeni.
The trial against Myeni began on January 27 and was set to be heard for five weeks. Throughout the period – Myeni was never in court to hear the damning evidence led against her by several former senior executives of SAA including its former acting CEO Nico Bezuidenhout – now holding a similar position at Mango Airways.
Buthelezi, however, was adamant that his client will be in court on Thursday to rebut the allegations against her.
Prior to the closing of the case, the court heard evidence from Carl Stein – one of South Africa’s leading corporate lawyers – about the impact of Section 162 applications lodged against Myeni by Outa and SAAPA.
Stein said an application can be brought against a non-executive director who was “grossly negligent’ in his or her dealing in the affairs of the board.
He said a minimum punishment of a person is declared a delinquent was for a minimum term of seven years.
Stein said that person would not be allowed to serve on any board in the country.
He, however, conceded that a probation sentence could be imposed similar to those issued in criminal courts saying that particular person “would be allowed to resume his or duties in the board if he or she had completed his probation.”
Outa and SAAPA have asked the court to declare Myeni, if found guilty, a delinquent director for the rest of her life.
They also asked Judge Ronel Tolmay to refer her decision to the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) for a criminal prosecution against her. Political Bureau