Outa files case to have Dudu Myeni declared a 'delinquent director'

SAA board chairperson Dudu Myeni. Picture Credit: Gallo Images
SAA board chairperson Dudu Myeni. Picture Credit: Gallo Images

The Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse (Outa) wants South African Airways (SAA) chairperson Dudu Myeni disqualified from holding a senior position in any South African company for at least seven years.

The lobby group‚ in conjunction with the SAA Pilots Association‚ on Tuesday filed a lawsuit to have Myeni declared a “delinquent director” in what it calls a precedent-setting case.

Outa portfolio director for transport Ben Theron on Wednesday outlined six key allegations that form the basis of its case against Myeni.

Outa alleges that Myeni has breached the Companies Act‚ the Constitution‚ the Public Finance Management Act and the Supply Chain Management Policy of SAA.

“The legal action brought against Ms Myeni is based on our claims that she has been seriously remiss in her fiduciary duties and responsibilities as the chairperson and as such‚ has caused the airline significant harm.

“During Ms Myeni’s tenure as Chairperson‚ SAA has lost an estimated R10.5 billion over a period of five years‚ despite that fact that SAA was profitable between 2010 and 2012.”

SAA Pilots Association chairperson Jimmy Conroy said the case is the first of its kind in the country.

“We believe SAA is in distress as a direct result of dysfunctional leadership. Our national carrier is quickly reaching the tipping point where its very survival is in question.

“The pilots of SAA want to see our national airline succeed. That is the motivation that drives our decisions and actions” he said.

In 2016 Outa took SAA to court and successfully halted the airline’s deal with financier BnP Capital to restructure R15 billion of its debt.

The failed deal with BnP Capital is one of the issues Outa raises in its application. Following its cancellation Myeni voted in favour of paying BnP Capital a R49.9-million cancellation fee‚ though BnP Capital did not have a valid financial services provider license.

Outa also claims Myeni was a key player in the breakdown of a proposed strategic partnership between SAA and airline Emirates. The SAA board approved the partnership but Myeni instructed former acting SAA CEO Nico Bezuidenhout not to sign the deal‚ Theron said.

A December 2015 report published by firm Ernst & Young revealed numerous examples of irregular expenditure relating to the procurement of goods and services at the airline. Outa claims Myeni ignored this report.

If Outa and the SAA Pilots Association are successful in their application‚ Myeni may not act as a director at SAA or any other South African company for at least seven years‚ Theron said.

Myeni recently also came under fire in her capacity as chairperson for the Mhlathuze Water Board‚ for her alleged abuse of public funds.

The City Press reported on 23 trips taken by Myeni as chair of the water board‚ totalling more that R670 000. On these trips Myeni allegedly splurged on five-star hotels‚ business class travel‚ hotel room service and a limousine ride.

In November 2016‚ the High Court in Pietermaritzburg found that Myeni’s term as chair of the water board was unlawfully extended. This decision is under review.

Myeni is also the chairperson of the Jacob Zuma Foundation.


— TMG Digital




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